Calkins Road in Californian Comeback

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Calkins Road, sidelined since winning the California Cup Classic at Santa Anita in November, is scheduled to return Saturday in the $400,000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.

Calkins Road, a 4-year-old colt, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 Sunday under Victor Espinoza, who will replace the retired Laffit Pincay, Jr. on the son of Illinois Storm.

"He had an infection in his pastern," said trainer John Shirreffs, explaining the time off. "He left the track for a little while for (owner) Tom Shapiro's farm in Santa Ynez. The vets at a clinic near there checked him out and sent him back."

Calkins Road has won three of eight starts and earned $383,880. He scored his first stakes victory in the Snow Chief here last year and later finished third in the Affirmed Handicap.

A field of at least seven is probable for the 1 1/8-mile Californian. It serves as a prep for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) at 1 1/4 mile on July 13.

Expected to run are: Calkins Road (Espinoza), Western Pride (Pat Valenzuela), Kudos (Alex Solis), Wooden Phone (Corey Nakatani), Fleetstreet Dancer (Tyler Baze) and a Nelson Bunker Hunt-owned entry of Gondolieri (Frank Alvarado) and Piensa Sonando (Gary Stevens).

Possibles include Night Patrol, Lethal Instrument, Reba's Gold, Royal Moro and Perfect Drift.

Wooden Phone worked five furlongs in a bullet :58.20 at Santa Anita on Sunday for trainer Bob Baffert.

Reba's Gold, winner of the Seabiscuit Handicap in his last start at Bay Meadows, drilled five furlongs in :59.60 Sunday at Hollywood Park for trainer Dan Hendricks. He finished sixth in The Californian last year.

Kudos will make his first start since finishing third in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 5. "He's an old horse, and I just figured I'd give him a little time and use this as a prep for the Gold Cup," said trainer Richard Mandella.

Trainer James Chapman gave the well-traveled Western Pride the green light after a five-furlong work in a bullet :59.80 here Saturday.

Connections for Kentucky-based Perfect Drift, third-place finisher in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, informed the racing office a decision would be reached Tuesday whether the horse ships or remains at Churchill Downs for the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap the same day.