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Madera Castana Tries Tougher in Gamely

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

Trainer Ruben Cardenas hopes for the biggest score of his career when he sends out Chilean-bred Madera Castana in the $250,000 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park Monday. The first Grade I stake of the meet is for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.


Madera Castana, a Group I winner in her native Chile who joined the Cardenas stable here in March, rallied from far back to finish second in an allowance race on turf here May 8 in her United States debut.


“She should have won that race for fun,” said Cardenas Thursday from his stable office in Barn 54 North. “She was 20 lengths behind at the three-eighths pole and just got beat. There was no reason for her to be that far back. I would like to see her closer to the pace in the Gamely.”


Cardenas, a 51-year-old native of Mexico, seeks his first graded stakes victory in the Gamely. “I started with Wayne Lukas in the quarter horses in 1974,” said Cardenas, who worked under Lukas, Mary Lou Tuck, Lee Rossi and Robert Marshall before going on his own in 2000.


“I know how to take care of a good horse,” said Cardenas with a smile, pointing out that he was a foreman for Lukas when the stable included Winning Colors, Criminal Type, Open Mind and Tejano and the man behind the scenes for Marshall when he campaigned multiple stakes winner Full Moon Madness.


Cardenas hopes that Madera Castana one day will be mentioned in the same breath. “She came in March 16 with five horses from Chile,” said Cardenas. “I thought she was the best, just on looks. She has acclimatized pretty well since she got here.”


Madera Castana, a 4-year-old filly, is one of 19 horses that Cardenas trains for Green Grass Stable. He has high hopes for several others. “I’m going to train Ashtar up to the Hollywood Gold Cup (July 9),” said of the 4-year-old Chilean-bred colt, a Group I winner with six wins in 14 starts. “Private Affair just got in this week from Peru and acts like a good one,” added Cardenas of the 4-year-old filly. “She ran second against colts in a Group I in Argentina.”


Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will ride Madera Castana for the first time in a Gamely lineup also expected to include Cozy Rosie (Mike Smith), Dubawi Heights (Joel Rosario), Éclair de Lune (Chantal Sutherland), Malibu Pier (Brice Blanc), Restless Soul (Joe Talamo), Turning Top (Garrett Gomez) and Canadian invader Miss Keller (Victor Espinoza). Celtic Princess and Lilly Fa Pootz head a short list of possible starters.


Restless Soul and Éclair de Lune each worked five furlongs on turf Thursday in 1:01.60 and 1:04, respectively.

 

 

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