Saturday, March 21, 2009

Canani may have this one in the bag

By Jay Privman
Daily Racing Form

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Trainer Julio Canani is leaving nothing to chance with Spring House in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday. Canani has brought back Spring House in another 1 1/2-mile grass race, following his victory in last month's San Luis Obispo Handicap. Alex Solis is riding again. Much of the competition is the same, too. And Canani will make sure he has the same clothes and accessories - shirt, pants, computer.

"I've got to get the girl to bring the computer," Canani said Thursday morning at Santa Anita.

The computer bag of teenager Jackie Licht has become Canani's good-luck charm. He phoned Licht's father, Roger, on Thursday morning, imploring him to bring his daughter to the track on Saturday, computer bag in tow. Canani couldn't remember what he wore for the San Luis Obispo, but said he would look at the winner's circle photo from that race to make sure he has the same pants and shirt Saturday.

All this wouldn't matter, though, if Spring House wasn't the goods. But he is. He owns three wins on Santa Anita's turf course, all at 1 1/2 miles. He split horses in the stretch drive to win the San Luis Obispo on Feb. 22.

"He's a mile-and-a-half horse," Canani said.

Bonjour, who was fourth in the San Luis Obispo, and Medici Code, who was fifth, are back to challenge Spring House again. But his main rivals figure to be You Got Me Rocking, who should control the early pace, and Artiste Royal, who beat Spring House in the San Marcos Handicap on Jan. 19 before shortening up in the Kilroe Mile two weeks ago.

You Got Me Rocking, who drew the rail, comes off a front-running win over a second-level allowance field going 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 26. This will be his first start at 1 1/2 miles.

Artiste Royal is an accomplished long-distance grass horse, but he showed his versatility last time with a deceptively good fifth-place finish in the Kilroe. Despite being instructed by trainer Neil Drysdale to stay outside, jockey Rafael Bejarano got Artiste Royal caught inside horses on the final turn, and he could not get free in time. Bejarano is back aboard with a chance to make amends.

Midships was fourth as the odds-on favorite when facing You Got Me Rocking last time, but he was third in last fall's Hollywood Derby. His trainer, Bobby Frankel, said Midships resented being rated in his last start.

"He should be laying second to You Got Me Rocking," Frankel said.

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