The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Turnberry Isle will be looking to recapture his European form when he faces off against the David Hofmans-trained Millennium Wind in the grade III, $100,000 Santa Catalina Stakes Sunday. The Santa Catalina is the first major prep race for aspiring 3-year-olds on the road leading into the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. While a good showing in the Santa Catalina pencils a horse into the starting gate for the April 3 Santa Anita Derby, the longer range view incorporates a trip to Louisville in early May. "We'd like to get a win but it's not imperative. I just hope there's some pace for him to run at," said Lukas assistant Randy Bradshaw.The Irish-bred Turnberry Isle is by Deputy Minister out of Blush With Pride. The chestnut colt finished second in the Group II Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot in September and followed that with a win in the Group III Beresford Stakes back on native soil at Curragh. Turnberry Isle's only stateside start came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile where he was packed nine-wide coming home and did well to finish a fast-closing sixth."I saw some numbers that indicated he ran as well as the winner," said Bradshaw. Bradshaw was not too concerned with the 115-pound weight assignment for Turnberry Isle in the Santa Catalina."They've got to pack 126 pounds in the Kentucky Derby," Bradshaw remarked. "They've got to start learning to carry the weight sometime."Turnberry Isle's European experience gives him a head start on his American-based counterparts, however, as he carried 126 pounds in the Beresford Stakes win.
Turnberry Isle and Millennium Wind will break alongside each other as they have drawn post positions No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.Co-highweighted at 115 pounds for the Santa Catalina is the Bob Baffert-trained Denied, a non-winners-of-one allowance winner here in his last start Dec. 30. Denied will break outside from the 7-hole.The field for the grade III, $100,000 Santa Catalina Stakes, from the rail out with jockeys and weights: Indy Lead, Victor Espinoza, 113; Swordfish, Eddie Delahoussaye, 113; Coke's Tribute, Laffit Pincay Jr., 113; Palmeiro, Kent Desormeaux, 113; Turnberry Isle, Gary Stevens, 115; Millennium Wind, Chris McCarron, 113, and Denied, Corey Nakatani, 115.