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Chokecherymary Set for Title Defense

Chokecherymary likely will try to defend her title in Saturday’s $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes for older California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on turf, weather or not.

“I think she got enough out of her race the other day that she’s set up well,” trainer Gary Mandella said of the 5-year-old Capsized mare, who finished an eventful fifth in a 6 ½ furlong race that was moved from grass to dirt on Dec. 30. Chokecherymary finished fifth, but broke out and was steadied.

Owned by Steve and Sue Woskow of Simi Valley, Chokecherymary was off 10 months after capturing the Valentine Dancer on Jan. 28, 2012, winning a nine-furlong allowance race on turf by a nose on March 1 before running fifth three weeks ago.

“When she won the allowance race here last year it had rained a bit that day and the ground was a little soft,” Mandella recalled.

“I won’t worry too much if it’s soft grass on Saturday. I don’t know what I would do if it’s taken off the turf. I’d have to give it some thought.”

The field for the Valentine Dancer, which goes as race five: Toomanytomatoes, Kevin Krigger, 30-1; Best Present Ever, Martin Pedroza, 5-1; Tiz Flirtatious, Rafael Bejarano, 4-5; Chokecherymary, Julien Leparoux, 8-1; Secret Cove, Garrett Gomez, 12-1; Miss Becca, Edwin Maldonado, 12-1; Halo Dolly, Joe Talamo, 5-2; and Dancingtothestars, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1.



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