Shirreffs clutching straws with Scenic Blast

Scenic Blast finished third in the Vernon O. Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park on Thursday.  He finished more than five lengths behind all-the-way winner Cost Of Freedom (Cee’s Tizzy) in the Thanksgiving Day feature over 1200m.

Scenic Blast (Scenic) chased the pace on the cushion track and jockey Victor Espinoza hooked him three wide to launch a bid around the home turn.  The 2009 Australian Horse of the Year was no match for the winner but did nose out Canonize (Aldebaran) for the minor money.

Scenic Blast is now winless in 8 starts since his G1 victory in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June 2009.  Connections elected to send him to California after he bled in the G1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin last December.  The gelding’s latest campaign was also interrupted by an injury that required a course of antibiotics in July.

Trainer John Shirreffs might be clutching at straws but he believes the rising seven year-old has a future in the United States.  “We can always bring him back next year,” Shirreffs said last month.  “You would expect him to acclimate and improve in 2011.”