Ladies Din Ready to Defend Shoemaker Title

(from Hollywood Park track notes)
Trainer Frank Monteleone said that Ladies Din, a venerable 8-year-old gelding, is on edge to defend honors in the $350,000-added Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park turf Monday.

"He's ready to roll," Monteleone said Wednesday from his Santa Anita headquarters. "He just worked five furlongs in :58 here yesterday under a stranglehold with P. Val (regular rider Patrick Valenzuela.). He worked with one of my other horses. He won't work without competition. On the turn, he went by the other horse under a stranglehold."

Ladies Din, seeking to become the oldest winner of the race since Cyclotron at 8 in 1956, will make his second start since winning the Shoemaker last year for Valenzuela and trainer Julio Canani.

Owners Bernie Schiappa and Terry Lanni turned the horse over to Monteleone in January. Ladies Din made his first start for Monteleone April 26 in the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows, flattening out to finish fourth on a yielding course.

"It was a deep yielding course, the kind he does not like, and the only reason I left him in was that he needed the race," explained Monteleone. "The Shoemaker was our goal all along. If the real Ladies Din shows up and runs like last year, he should be tough."

Ladies Din has won 12 of 36 starts and earned $1,966,754. He finished second in the Shoemaker in both 1999 and 2000.

Canani, who has won the race three of the past four years with Ladies Din and Silic (in 1999 and 2000), will try to make it four-for-five with Special Ring, who has recorded a series of bullet works here.

Special Ring, a 6-year-old gelding who finished sixth in the Shoemaker last year, continued his sharp work pattern here Wednesday with a four-furlong move in :46.60, the fastest of 35 workers at that distance. He has been sidelined since setting a Del Mar course record of 1:32.60 for one mile on turf in the Wickerr Handicap on August 2.

Redattore, another 8-year-old millionaire, seeks to improve upon his runner-up finish in the Shoemaker last year. He comes off a victory in the Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 1.

A field of at least nine is shaping up in the Grade I test: Ladies Din (Valenzuela), Redattore (Alex Solis), Special Ring (Jose Valdivia, Jr.), Touch of the Blues (Kent Desormeaux), Medecis (Mike Smith), War Zone (David Flores), Century City (Victor Espinoza), Nicobar (Frank Alvarado) and Tijiyr (Corey Nakatani). Each will carry 124 pounds.

Century City, Nicobar and War Zone each were supplemented for $10,000.