Bienamado, winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup, will make his next start in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Bienamado, winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup, will make his next start in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Associated Press/ Benoit

Bienamado Out of Turf Stake in Favor of Big 'Cap

From Santa Anita
Bienamado, who had been expected to run in Saturday's San Luis Obispo Handicap, was not entered in the grade II turf race and instead will be pointed to the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 3 for his first start on the main track, part-owner John Toffan said Thursday morning.

"We decided to take a shot at it," said Toffan, who owns the son of Bien Bien along with Trudy McCaffery and Robert Sangster. "Although he has never run on dirt except in workouts, he seems to handle it all right. Paco (trainer Paco Gonzalez) came up with the idea (to run in the Big 'Cap) and we went along with it. If it doesn't work out, we can always go back to the grass with him."

Bienamado, a 5-year-old grass specialist, has four wins from five starts in the United States: the Jim Murray Handicap, the Sunset Handicap, the Hollywood Turf Cup and the San Marcos Stakes.

Bien Bien finished third in the 1994 Santa Anita Handicap but was moved up to second when The Wicked North was disqualified from first and placed out of the money. Stuka was awarded first place. Bienamado, a winner of six of 12 starts with earnings of $811,009, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Thursday morning in a bullet :59.40, the fastest of 66 drills at the distance.

In another San Luis Obispo development, Northern Quest breezed four panels in :48.20 at Hollywood Park for trainer Bobby Frankel.

The field for the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap turf, from the rail out with jockeys and weights: Falcon Flight, Paul Atkinson (115); Company Approval, Laffit Pincay Jr. (112); Tanaasa, Gary Stevens (115); Here Comes Big C, Martin Pedroza (110); Sayarshan, Jose Valdivia Jr. (116); Keemoon, Alex Solis (113); Devon Deputy, Chris McCarron (113); Persianlux, Tyler Baze (113); Northern Quest, Victor Espinoza (116) and Floriselli, Brice Blanc (112).