Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Del Mar Stable Notes 7/21/8
LAVA MAN FANS MAY HAVE SEEN LAST OF HIM AT THE RACES
It's not official, and it might not happen right now, but there's a good chance that Lava Man may have raced for the last time, in Sunday's Grade I Eddie Read Handicap.
The 7-year-old warrior finished last of six in the 1 1/8-mile turf race and the owners -- STD Stable and Jason Wood -- expect to make a decision soon on his future.
Lava Man, winner of $5.2 million in purses, nearly all of it for the present owners after he was claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar in 2004, has not won since capturing his third straight Hollywood Gold June 30, 2007, six races ago. His career statistics show 17 wins, eight seconds and five thirds in 46 starts.
Of prospects going into the Read, Kenley said, "We were really confident yesterday because he looked so good in the paddock and he had been training really well since the Whittingham. And he ran great in the Whittingham. With that, we thought we could do better yesterday. We thought he'd be cruising along on the lead and things would go our way."
In a special salute to the old warrior, Kenley said, "We have nothing but appreciation for this horse. It's been quite a ride for four years. He's been in the spotlight and he's put us on the map."
BECRUX BACK TO DEFEND 2007 TITLE IN WICKERR HANDICAP
Defending champion Becrux, trained by Neil Drysdale, will take on nine others with designs on winning in Friday's 19th running of the Wickerr Handicap at a mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
The Italian-bred, owned by Team Valor International and Gary Barber, has not won since last year's Wickerr victory, a string of five straight defeats. The 6-year-old gelding was fifth in the Grade II American Handicap June 28 at Hollywood Park in his most recent outing.
Drysdale, who has a second entrant in Dark Islander, and trainer Julio Canani will send out 50 percent of the field, with Canani saddling a trio made up of Porto Santo, who was fourth in last year's Wickerr and will be making his 2008 debut, All Man and Stoneside.
That leaves Art Sherman's Lang Field, third in the 2007 Wickerr, Ben Cecil's Worldly, Richard Mandella's One Union, Darrell Vienna's Cheroot and Craig Dollase's Awesome Gem to battle that formidable group. Four horses made an also-eligible list of Hello Sunday and Tybalt, both trained by Robert Frankel, Steve Knapp's Bonjour and a second Mandella trainee, Sartorial.
Here's how the 10 will line up from the rail, with weights and riders: Porto Santo, 117, Garrett Gomez; Dark Islander, 115, Rafael Bejarano; Stoneside, 118, Joe Talamo; All Man, 115, Martin Pedroza; Worldly, 116, Aaron Gryder; Lang Field, 120, Jon Court; One Union, 117, Victor Espinoza; Becrux, 121, David Flores; Cheroot, 116, Michael Baze, and Awesome Gem, 121, Tyler Baze.
MONZANTE, LETHAL HEAT LOOK AHEAD TO DEL MAR FUTURE
Both Monzante and Lethal Heat, winners of Sunday's Grade I Eddie Read Handicap and the Fleet Treat Stakes, respectively, were reported in good shape this morning by trainers Mike Mitchell and Barry Abrams.
Mitchell, proclaiming himself a happy camper, said he'll keep the horse on turf and point him toward the Grade II, $400,000 Del Mar Mile Sunday, August 24, part of a four-graded-stakes Pacific Classic day. The Mile is designated a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
"I brought him in as early as possible," Mitchell said, "so I could work him on the synthetic surface. He did well with that, and that was a big plus."
Abrams expressed pleasure with the way Lethal Heat came out of her dominating victory in the Fleet Treat. "Now, we'll go on to the Del Mar Oaks." The Grade I, $400,000 race for 3-year-old fillies will be run Saturday, August 16.
TEN 2-YEAR-OLDS SET FOR CAL-BRED GRADUATION STAKES
Babs Moosa shows the only stakes victory among 10 2-year-old California-bred males heading for Wednesday's $125,000 Graduation Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track.
The gelded son of Crowning Storm, owned by Halo Farms, won the Solano County Juvenile July 12 at the distance of the Graduation for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
He'll be tested by Solano runner-up Turbo Call, who finished fifth in the Grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship in his previous start; Making Dreams, runner-up to Hollywood Juvenile winner Azul Leon and carrying high weight of 122 pounds, and Jack Flash and Swiss Alpine, both of whom were off the board in the Hollywood Juvenile.
Here's how they'll line up from the rail, with weights and riders: Turbo Call, 119, Julio Garcia; Triumphant Flight, 119, Victor Espinoza; Babs Moosa, 119, Garrett Gomez; Jack Flash, 119, Martin Garcia; Atlantra's Tantrum, 117, Isaias Enriquez; Glorious One, 117, Aaron Gryder; Swiss Alpine, 117, Joe Talamo; Making Dreams, 122, Jose Valdivia Jr.
BEJARANO TAKES JOCKEY EDGE, MITCHELL GOES UP BY TWO
Rafael Bejarano and Mike Mitchell each posted a pair of victories Sunday to take over sole leads in the jockey and trainer standings. They even teamed up for one win when Bejarano delivered the Mitchell-trained Monzante to the winner's circle in the Grade I, $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap.
The Read win gave Bejarano eight victories over the first five days and a sweep of Sunday's stakes races. He scored aboard the Barry Abrams trainee, Lethal Heat, in the $108,600 Fleet Treat Stakes for 3-year-old Cal-bred fillies in the race preceding the Read.
In the jockey race, Tyler Baze kept the pressure on the leader by winning one race for a total of seven.
Among trainers, defending champion Doug O'Neill also posted a pair of victories to jump into a tie for second in the standings with three wins. John Sadler, who had one win on the day, and Peter Miller share the spot with O'Neill.
SHORE LINES -- Retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron is on a visit to Del Mar and reports that one of his graduates of the American Riding Academy in Kentucky -- Matthew Straight -- became the first academy alum to post a riding victory when won a race at Kentucky's Ellis Park Sunday. McCarron is the all-time leader in stakes wins at the seashore with 134 and is third behind fellow retiree Laffit Pincay Jr. and the late Bill Shoemaker with 849 wins here ... Trainer Christopher Paasch said earlier in the meeting that he had been saving the name Stardom Bound for just the right horse, and it appears he picked the right one. After breaking last in the fourth race, the 2-year-old filly came blazing down the stretch to be beaten only a nose by Turtle Creek Babe. During the stretch, the Paasch trainee posted Trakus' best finishing speed of the day at 38.6 mph.
TRAKUS FACTS -- Sun., 7/20 -- Peak Speed: Race 4 (Polytrack) -- Oro Blanco -- 43.5 mph (first 1/8th); Race 8 (turf) -- Storm Military -- 41.5 mph (first 1/8th); Fastest Late Stretch Run: Race 4 (Polytrack) -- Stardom Bound -- 38.6 mph (final 16th); Race 8 (turf) -- Monzante -- 38.6 mph (final 16th).
SYNNIN AND GRINNIN WINS DEL MAR FEATURE
Synnin and Grinnin, owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers' star pitcher, Brad Penny, cruised to a decisive victory in today's $59,000 feature at Del Mar, a five-furlong sprint over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
With Joe Talamo in the saddle, Synnin and Grinnin held off the late charge of Unusual Spirit to win by slightly more than a length as the 5-2 favorite. The winner's time was :56.03 and she returned $7, $4 and $3 after scoring her third victory in eight starts.
Howard Zucker conditions the California-bred three-year-old daughter of Beau Genius.
Unusual Spirit, with Alex Solis in the irons, paid $4 and $3.20, while Dine at Nine returned $6 to show.
Blanked with his first 19 mounts this season, 2007 Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez located the winner's circle for the first time this summer as he won the fifth race aboard even-money favored Lady Schnapps.
Rafael Bejarano, leading rider at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, doubled on the program, as did Joel Rosario.
Today's attendance was 10,665.
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