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Rose to Ride at Santa Anita

Times Staff Writer

Before he begins working full time in Florida next week, Jeremy Rose will make his first appearance at Santa Anita.

The jockey who came to national prominence as the regular rider of 2005 Preakness and Belmont winner Afleet Alex, Rose is scheduled to arrive today in California and will ride the streaking Trickle Of Gold in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes on Saturday.

After his quick trip west, Rose, 26, will head to Hallandale, Fla., where he will be a regular when Gulfstream Park begins its winter-spring meet Wednesday. When that track wraps in April, Rose will return to the scene of his first career victory.

Delaware Park is where the Pennsylvania native rode his initial winner on Sept. 23, 2000. He went on to be the Eclipse Award winner the following year as the nation’s top apprentice, winning 312 races.

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“It should be fun coming to California,” he said Thursday. “I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve always been very impressed by the track from what I’ve seen on television.”

The seven-furlong La Brea, the final Grade I of 2005, will be Trickle Of Gold’s toughest test, but the daughter of Formal Gold may be ready for the challenge.

Owned by John D. Murphy Sr. and trained by Mike Gorham, Trickle Of Gold arrives having won six in a row. Those victories, at Delaware Park and Laurel, have been by a combined 44 3/4 lengths. Her last loss was a second-place finish to Thats Our Song in a June 29 allowance race in Delaware.

“She’s a very good filly,” said Rose, who has been aboard Trickle Of Gold in all but one of her victories during the streak. He took over after Clinton Potts, who had ridden her in two previous races, was injured.

“I haven’t really gone to the whip on her yet and I really haven’t done anything on her, so I’m hoping there’s some more left,” added Rose. “She’s on top of her game right now and I think this is her best chance to win a Grade I.

“She’s pretty quick out of the gate on her own, but I don’t think she has to have the lead. I’ve had horses press her and I’ve let them get almost a head in front and she’s never had a problem.”

A winner of seven of 12 and worse than third only once, Trickle Of Gold has won only once beyond six furlongs, but the victory was at a mile in her last start on Nov. 19.

She won the $100,000 Ann Arundel at Laurel by 1 1/2 lengths as the 7-10 favorite.

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The main question with the dark bay filly is class. Her lone graded stakes win came in the Safely Kept, a Grade III, on Oct. 16. She beat four rivals that day by three lengths as the 7-5 second choice.

No matter what Trickle Of Gold or any other thoroughbred accomplishes under Rose from here on, it will have to take a backseat to Afleet Alex.

“He will never be duplicated or replaced in my mind and I don’t care how many other very good horses I get to ride,” said Rose. “The whole experience I had with him was the best I’ve had in my life and that’s not just in racing. He and I were pretty close. It wasn’t the typical horse-and-jockey relationship.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if he had stayed sound he would have been even better as a 4-year-old. I worked him before the decision was made to retire him and he was stronger. The Northern Afleets are supposed to get better as they get older and if that was true he would have been scary to watch.”

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The La Brea attracted 13 other fillies, including Leave Me Alone, the 123-pound highweight, Pussycat Doll, Sharp Lisa and Three Degrees, who will be making her main track debut for trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the race three times since 1992, will saddle both Pussycat Doll and My Miss Storm Cat.

Owned by breeder Mike Pegram, Pussycat Doll, a daughter of 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet, will be making her Grade I debut as will My Miss Storm Cat, who has won two of three for owner Ed Friendly.

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The first leg of the three-race La Canada series, which concludes with the $200,000 La Canada Stakes on Feb. 12 at 1 1/8 miles, the La Brea lineup is completed by Simply Because, Berbatim, Resident Alien, Shining Energy, Great Intentions, Mystic Chant, Thrilling Victory and Soldier’s Kiss.

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Besides the La Brea, the card on Saturday features another graded race, the $100,000 Monrovia Handicap at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf, although the possibility of rain could force the Grade III to the main track.

Elusive Diva, who has won all three of her starts down the hillside in Arcadia, is almost certain to be favored if the race stays on turf. On dirt, Resplendency, the defending champion in the Monrovia, is the one to beat.

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