ARCADIA, Calif. -- Dinard, whose four victories at Santa Anita Park last winter made him the Kentucky Derby favorite before an injury, makes his comeback today as the track begins its 55th season.
Unfortunately for Dinard, owner Allen Paulson, trainer Dick Lundy and jockey Pat Valenzuela, Olympio will be there, too, to contest the $100,000-added Malibu Stakes with nine other 3-year-olds.
Olympio is the only horse to beat Dinard so far, and did it by a nose at this seven-furlong distance in the Feb. 10 San Vicente Stakes. Olympio went on to win derbies at Oaklawn Park, Canterbury Downs, Arlington and Hollywood Park, and should be favored today with Eddie Delahoussaye riding.
The field includes Letthebighossroll (Chris McCarron), 3-for-3 at Santa Anita but stuck on the rail today; Apollo, coming off a string of turf disappointments; and Charmonniere, Best Pal's upsetter in the 1 1/8 -mile California Cup Classic.
"You have horses who have been racing recently," Lundy said after Dinard returned to Santa Anita this week after a string of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. But "he's trained very well. I expect a good effort."