Jockey Alex Solis likes what he sees in Rushin' To Altar, a $485,000 Kentucky-bred son of Pulpit he'll be riding in Saturday's $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 mile at Santa Anita."He keeps improving and his last race was really impressive," Solis said, referring to the colt's nose victory on Dec. 11 at Hollywood Park in an allowance race at 1 1/16 mile. "He got to the lead and started to wait a little bit. I just have to make sure I don't take the lead too early. I haven't worked him lately, but he's a nice horse."In another San Fernando development, Ocean Sound suffered an injury to his left front and will be out about six months, trainer Jim Cassidy said. A field of eight was entered Thursday.Mananan McLir, second in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Dec. 2 in his most recent try on the grass, was assigned 120 pounds and jockey Patrick Valenzuela for trainer Wally Dollase. The 65-year-old trainer moved Helmsman from turf to dirt and won the Strub Stakes in 1996. He hopes Mananan McLir can duplicate that."We got lucky with Helmsman," Dollase said. "He won the Strub and we're hoping we can do the same with Mananan McLir. That's everyone's objective with a 4-year-old, to win the Strub."Mananan McLir, a Kentucky-bred son of Royal Academy, will be making his first start on dirt after 15 races on turf.
"He's always worked well on the dirt," Dollase said of the bay colt, "so we decided to give him a chance."
New shooters Tizbud and Tracemark figure to spice up this year's San Fernando. The former is a full brother to 2000 Horse of the Year and 2001 San Fernando winner Tiznow, while the latter has been working strongly for his return to action.Midwest shipper Pass Rush and turf specialist Century City, racing on the main track for the first time while adding blinkers, should also draw attention in the second leg of the Strub series. The final leg of the Strub Series is the $400,000 Charles H. Strub Stakes (gr. II) on Feb. 1.
$200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), 4-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Groom On The Run, Julie Krone, 116
2. Traditional, David Flores, 116
3. Tizbud, Victor Espinoza, 116
4. Tracemark, Kent Desormeaux, 116
5. Mananan McLir, Pat Valenzuela, 120
6. Rushin' To Altar, Alex Solis, 116
7. Century City, Laffit Pincay Jr., 118
8. Pass Rush, Corey Nakatani, 116