Blast off for Horse of the Year

Mighty mare Zenyatta is not the only champion being prepared by John Shirreffs at Hollywood Park.

Apart from the record-breaking Street Cry mare, Shirreffs is also training reigning Australian Horse of the Year Scenic Blast.  The Scenic speedster will make his American debut in the $75,000 Robert Kerlan Memorial (1200m) at Hollywood Park next Sunday, June 27.

Scenic Blast has won 8 times in 21 starts for prizemoney of $1.89 million.  He was a G1 winner of the 2009 Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Hcp at Flemington before adding the G1 Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Scenic Blast has not started since finishing last of 14 in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint last December.  He was banned for three months in Australia for a bleeding attack leaving connections no alternative but to send him to California where he can run on Lasix.

“We kept him in the stables to get to know him a little bit better,” Shirreffs said.  “We wanted some personal experience before turning him out for a break at Rancho Paseana near Del Mar.”

The Californian conditioner admits the Kerlan Memorial is not a high priority in the whole scheme of things for Scenic Blast’s 2010 campaign.  The Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs later this year is the long-term goal and Shirreffs just wants to get the ball rolling this Sunday.