After an absence of some four months, Nazirali won an allowance race at 12 furlongs on the Santa Anita turf in smart fashion on April 2 for trainer Julio Canani. The jockey who rode the Irish-bred gelding that day, Jose Valdivia Jr., is hoping for a repeat in Sunday's $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) at about 1 ¾ miles on turf. "A mile and three-quarters should be no problem," Valdivia said. "You'd never think much by looking at him. He's a very small horse, but very well made and put together well. He ran huge last time. It was his first race off a long layoff and he came running. He beat two nice horses in Okawango and Murano, so I'm really looking forward to riding him Sunday. Hopefully, we can take the San Juan." Nazirali blew out four furlongs Wednesday on Santa Anita's firm turf course in :49.20 (dogs up). Probable San Juan foe Adminniestrator worked five furlongs on a fast main track in 1:00.80 for trainer Paddy Gallagher. Nazirali catches a San Juan Capistrano field that lacks a standout. Champion Lodge, the six-length winner on soft ground in the San Luis Rey (gr. II) at Santa Anita on March 15, was assigned top weight of 117 pounds among eight probable starters.Nazirali's only poor effort in seven U.S. races came in the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) Nov. 23, when he finished ninth after steadying early in the 1 ½-mile race. The son of Kahyasi won the San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) last year. Nazirali has a 4-3-0 record from 10 starts, with earnings of $238,855 for owner Michael House of El Cajon.
Probable for the San Juan Capistrano: Champion Lodge, Alex Solis, 117; Nazirali, Valdivia, 116; Adminniestrator, David Flores, 115; Delta Form, Goncalino Almeida, 115; Special Matter, Tyler Baze, 113; Timber Cruiser, Matt Garcia, 111; All The Boys, Pat Valenzuela, 110; and Passinetti, Brice Blanc, 110. Possible: Bonaguil, no rider, 110.