Mandella Is Pointing Siphon at Gold Cup


Hollywood Park will stage the $100,000-added Mervyn LeRoy Handicap for the 18th time Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile race is the first prep for the $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup on June 29.

Only two LeRoy winners have gone on to success in the Gold Cup--Eleven Stitches, who was awarded his LeRoy victory when Caterman was disqualified in 1981, and Siphon, last year’s winner.

Successful in the Santa Anita Handicap in March before finishing second in the Dubai World Cup a few weeks later, Siphon was out on the track Sunday morning, but he won’t be around to defend his LeRoy title.


Trainer Richard Mandella’s 6-year-old, who worked a half-mile in 48 2/5 Sunday, could run in the $250,000 Californian before trying to become only the second horse to repeat in the Gold Cup. Native Diver won the race three successive years (1965-67).

In Siphon’s absence, and that of the other two big handicap guns from the Mandella stable--Sandpit and Gentlemen--the LeRoy is expected to have a small field.

At this point, only four are considered probable--Benchmark, Cleante, Hesabull and Kingdom Found.


Cat’s Cradle, who was eased in Saturday’s A Gleam Handicap as the 9-5 second choice, injured the suspensory ligament in her right foreleg and has been retired by owner Georgia Ridder and trainer Dave Hofmans.

“It’s nothing really serious, but we’re going to stop [and retire her],” said Hofmans. “It’s too bad, but she’s done enough.

A 5-year-old, California-bred daughter of Flying Paster, Cat’s Cradle finished her career with 10 wins from 26 starts and earnings of $807,808.



Three days into the spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park and trainer Mike Smith already has matched his victory total of the recent 86-day Santa Anita season.

Smith, who won with two of 19 starters in Arcadia, now has two stakes victories at Hollywood Park after Taylor May’s victory at 5-1 in the $76,900 Bel’s Starlet Stakes on Sunday. On Friday night, Kentucky Kaper, the trainer’s only other starter at the meeting, paid $37 in winning the Senorita Stakes.

Rallying from off the pace under Gary Stevens, Taylor May, owned and bred by Thelma Taylor, won by 2 1/2 lengths over Iza Bon Bon and seven others in 1:34 2/5 for the mile on turf.

“Gary rode her great,” said Smith, who once worked as an assistant to the now-retired Gary Jones. “He rode her perfect. . . . It’s been a great weekend for me.”

General Idea, the 9-5 favorite, finished last under Corey Nakatani, beaten by about 25 lengths.