ARCADIA, Calif. (June 25, 2014)–A distant seventh as the 5-2 favorite in the Grade II, seven furlong Churchill Downs Stakes on May 3, Jerry Hollendorfer’s Sahara Sky will try to rebound at the same distance as the likely favorite in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita.
A winner of last year’s Grade I Met Mile at Belmont Park, Sahara Sky was second two starts back in the seven furlong, Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 5, and he took the Grade II, seven furlong San Carlos Stakes for the second year in-a-row at Santa Anita on March 8.
A 6-year-old horse by Pleasant Tap, Sahara Sky has a devastating closing kick when he’s on his game and his connections are hoping that the eight weeks between starts will be to his benefit. Paired for the first time since winning the 2013 San Carlos with Joe Talamo, Sahara Sky is 8-3-3-1 at seven furlongs. Owned by Hollendorfer and Kim Lloyd’s Sweetwater Stable, Sahara Sky is 20-8-4-4 overall with earnings of $1,145,328.
Trainer, breeder and owner Bruce Headley’s California-bred Cylclometer ran what could’ve been the best race of his career in winning the Grade III, six furlong Los Angeles Stakes by 2 ½ lengths on May 26. Sent to the front by Edwin Maldonado through fractions of 21.40, 44.20 and 56.20, the 6-year-old horse by Cyclotron came home in 1:09 flat in a dominating performance.
A sharp third when close to the early pace two starts back in the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong Potrero Grande Stakes, it would be no surprise to see Cyclometer winging early in the Triple Bend. Winless from three tries at seven furlongs, Cyclometer is 21-6-5-4 overall with earnings of $417,004. Along with Headley, he is co-owned and bred by Irwin and Andrew Molasky.
Head and head throughout with Cyclometer in the Los Angeles Stakes, trainer Peter Miller’s Wine Police was a close fifth two starts back in the Potrero Grande and has solid overall sprint credentials. A 6-year-old gelding by 2004 Eclipse Award Sprint Champion Speightstown, Wine Police will make his third start for Miller in the Triple Bend.
Owned by Kirk and Judy Robison, Wine Police, like Cyclometer, is winless in three attempts at seven furlongs. His overall mark stands at 15-5-3-2 and he has earnings of $377,537.
Lightly raced Declassify looms a dangerous horse for Bob Baffert. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., the 4-year-old colt by Orientate was an impressive 11 ½ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs at Santa Anita on April 6, 2013, and he came back at the same distance to crush a first condition allowance field by 7 ½ lengths on June 8, 2013 at Hollywood Park.
A disappointing fourth at 1-5 in a second condition allowance Oct. 6 at Santa Anita, Declassify was away nearly 7 months before running a close second to the highly regarded Seeking the Sherif on May 16–his fourth consecutive race at six furlongs.
The complete field for the Triple Bend Stakes, to be run as the sixth race on a 10-race card Saturday, with jockeys, all horses assigned 119 pounds in post position order: Declassify, Martin Garcia; Drill, Mike Smith; Gladding, Fernando Perez; Sahara Sky, Joe Talamo; Indexical, Mario Gutierrez; Cyclometer, Edwin Maldonado, and Wine Police, Victor Espinoza.