Sunday, February 14, 2010

La Canada: New rider for Stardom Bound

Brad Free,
Daily Racing Form

ARCADIA, Calif. - Quantity trumps quality in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita. Yes, that is a knock on Stardom Bound.

The champion juvenile filly of 2008, Stardom Bound enters the La Canada for 4-year-old fillies as the most identifiable in a big field of 14 entrants. The issues for Stardom Bound are how good she is at 4, and how good she needs to be to win a soft La Canada.

The mishmash field includes allowance filly Miss Silver Brook, front-runner Freedom Star, dropper Floating Heart, European imports Gripsholm Castle and Applause, and trouble-prone Striking Dancer.

After winning five successive Grade 1's, Stardom Bound tailed off in spring 2009 and was given a break. Her runner-up finish Jan. 17 in the Grade 2 El Encino marked an improved effort.

"We were very happy," Michael Iavarone, president of owner IEAH Stables, said about the El Encino, her second start following a troubled fifth-place comeback in New York.

Stardom Bound "didn't get much out of the race at Aqueduct, we shipped her across the country, she lost a lot of ground, and she still [finished well]," Iavarone said.

Stardom Bound's regular ride Mike Smith is replaced Sunday by Julien Leparoux; co-owner David Lanzman has been bought out.

"Sometimes it's in everyone's best interest to make a change," Iavarone said. "For the betterment of the filly, I think we've eliminated a lot of bad karma."

Stardom Bound carries 123-pound top weight and can win the La Canada if she improves third start back. So can Miss Silver Brook, who was no match for Stardom Bound one year ago.

"She's improving," said Miss Silver Brook's trainer, Julio Canani. "And don't forget, when she ran with Stardom Bound before, [Miss Silver Brook] had trouble at the sixteenth pole, and was making only her third start."

That was nearly a year ago; Miss Silver Brook is better now. She won a strong first-level allowance Jan. 2 that was flattered when runner-up Pretty Unusual won the El Encino 13 days later. Canani skipped the El Encino to wait for Sunday. Garrett Gomez rides Miss Silver Brook, who figures for a good trip tucked behind likely pacesetter Freedom Star.

Pretty Unusual drew post 14 and also carries 123 pounds. She is likely to scratch and run in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap on Monday.

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