Friday, October 31, 2008


Trainer Bob Baffert will send out an entry of Toro Bonito and Ten Churros in the $100,000-added Sharp Cat Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track Saturday. Competition in the five-horse field will be headed by Pamona Ball, trained by former assistant Eoin Harty.

“The Earnhardt specials,” said Baffert Friday of his two entrants owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt, two of his longest owners from Arizona. “For $100,000, I’m giving them another shot.”

The two fillies took different routes to the Baffert barn. Toro Bonito, a Kentucky-bred homebred by El Corredor out of Blushing Bull, has been with Baffert since the start. She broke her maiden at Del Mar and finished fifth in the Oak Leaf Stakes and third in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita.

Ten Churros, a California-bred, broke her maiden in $40,000 claiming company here in June for trainer Jeff Mullins before joining the Baffert stable and winning the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar. She finished second in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies in her last start at Santa Anita Oct. 5.

Harty, who went on his own in 2000 after assisting Baffert for seven years, hopes to finish ahead of his former boss with Pamona Ball, who broke her maiden at third asking at 1 1/16 miles Oct. 10 at Santa Anita.

“She’s coming on at the right time,” said Harty. “It’s a big jump up in class. We’ll find out more Saturday.”

Harty said that Pamona Ball, by Pleasantly Perfect out of Fireman’s Ball, might0 have been misspelled. “She was bought at Pomona,” said Harty of the $380,000 purchase at the Barretts March Sale this year by Darley Stud.

Baffert, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last week with Midshipman for Darley, is expected to remain in action in the juvenile division. He nominated Ventana for the $100,000-added Real Quiet Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 8.

Baffert sent out Real Quiet to an unprecedented sweep of the 1997 Hollywood Futurity, 1998 Kentucky Derby and 1999 Hollywood Gold Cup. Harty won the Real Quiet last year with Colonel John.


No jockey appreciates riding at this meet more than Danny Sorenson, who turned 50 in March.

Sorenson rode for the first time here since the Autumn Meet in 2006 with a third-place finish aboard Proud Heritage in the eighth race Wednesday after returning from an 18-month layoff opening day of the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

Sorenson was sidelined with a fractured hip suffered in a training spill here in March, 2007. “It was one of those freak things,” he said. “A horse I was on spooked walking across the dirt in front of the Mandella barn, and I landed on my hip on the curb and fractured the femur bone right at the hip.

“The doctors put in a nail to keep the bone stable, and everything was good until I tried to work horses again the following January,” continued Sorenson. “I had to have the metal taken out because it was vibrating, and was not able to start working horses again until July.

“It took me until Oak Tree to get my legs back in shape, and I won a race on the third day back on a horse named Merge for Clifford Sise,” said Sorenson, who hired agent Brandon O‘Bryan.

Sorenson has four mounts today and one each Saturday and Sunday at the track where he broke his maiden as an apprentice with Had A Notion in 1978 for trainer Jerry Fanning.

“It was a long layoff but physically I’m in good shape and mentally I love this game,” said the upbeat Sorenson.


Cloud Spin, an unraced half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass, is stabled here at the Bobby Frankel barn but her future is uncertain.

“I hope we can keep her,” said Sally Lundy, assistant to Frankel, of the 2-year-old filly by Storm Cat out of Ascutney. She was bred by Stonerside Stable, which sold its racing and breeding stock to Darley Stud in September.

Frankel trained a full sister, Gentle Gale. Ascutney won the 1996 Miesque Stakes here for trainer David Donk.

Lundy, who had spent most autumns at Santa Anita for Frankel, has been shifted here to supervise 25 horses while Frankel and chief assistant Humberto Ascanio remain at Santa Anita with a 40-horse first string.

Frankel will be busy here Sunday. In addition to sending out an entry of Brazilian-breds Double Trouble and Eissoai in the featured $65,000-added It’s In The Air Stakes, Frankel will also saddle Always Auditioning — a 2-year-old full sister to Hollywood Gold Cup winner Mast Track — in a maiden race on turf. Frankel owns the daughter of Mizzen Mast out of Nawal.

Frankel will also send out Jibboom, another daughter of Mizzen Mast, in an allowance race on turf. The 4-year-old Juddmonte Farms homebred won the Grade II Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland last year.


Trainer Ben Cecil is expected to enter both High Heel Sneakers and Restless Soul in the $65,000-added Hermosa Beach Handicap for fillies and mares at 1½ miles on turf Nov. 9.

Both English-breds seek their first United States victory at a distance they both raced at in England. High Heel Sneakers, a 4-year-old filly, will be ridden by Victor Espinoza. Restless Soul, a 5-year-old mare, will enjoy the services of Joel Rosario.

Other probable starters include Brushed Gold (Garrett Gomez), Le Cirque (David Flores) and Rushen Heat (Jose Valdivia, Jr.). Brushed Gold, a 4-year-old filly in the Todd Pletcher stable, comes off a victory on the Delaware Park turf in September. She shipped west to finish seventh in the 2006 Miesque Stakes before going to the sidelines for 20 months.

FINISH LINES — Apprentice Sergio Figueroa, who made his debut here this week, joined the circuit during the Oak Tree meet. A 22-year-old native of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Figueroa won his first race at Beulah Park on Nov. 20, 2007, his first of 31 winners. He also won at Gulfstream, Monmouth, Mountaineer and Suffolk. Rolando Hevia is his agent…Snow Chief Stakes winner Harlene worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 for the Doug O’Neill stable…Real Quiet Stakes nominee Mobilized drilled six panels in 1:14.40 for trainer Gary Mandella.

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