Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Del Mar Stable Notes 8/11/8
BAZE TAKES REINS OF AWESOME GEM FOR PACIFIC CLASSIC
Second-leading rider Tyler Baze will guide Awesome Gem in the Grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic Sunday August 24, choosing the 2007 Pacific Classic runner-up over Hollywood Gold Cup winner Mast Track.
Baze was reunited with Awesome Gem for the July 25 Wickerr Handicap on the Del Mar grass, where he missed by a nose to One Union. That performance clinched the deal to ride in the Pacific Classic. Baze had ridden Awesome Gem during a four-race stretch in late 2006 and early '07.
Ebanks acknowledged that the prospect of riding Awesome Gem in the Breeders' Cup Classic Saturday, October 25 at Santa Anita was a major factor in the decision.
Trainer Robert Frankel's Mast Track is still on track for the Pacific Classic, Frankel assistant Humberto Ascanio said this morning. "Bobby is looking for a new rider," he said, adding that Frankel also plans to run Out of Control in the race and the trainer is hopeful of getting leading rider Rafael Bejarano to ride.
Out of Control, who Ascanio said will ship from Frankel's New York stable during the week leading up to the Pacific Classic, finished second to super grass runner After Market in last year's Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar and won the 2007 Oak Tree Mile, his most recent victory. In his latest race, Out of Control lost by a nose to Dancing Forever in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park June 7.
Out of Control turned in a 1:14.03 6-furlong move at Saratoga Race Course Sunday.
In addition to those three, the Pacific Classic could include these others: Go Between, winner of $2.1 million trained by Bill Mott and stabled at Churchill Downs; McCann's Mojave, $1.5 earner trained by Steve Specht in Northern California; Mostacolli Mort, trained by Julio Canani at Del Mar; defending champion Student Council, trained by Steve Asmussen and stabled in New York; million-dollar winner Surf Cat from the Bruce Headley barn at Del Mar; Zappa, winner of Del Mar's Cougar II Handicap for Del Mar-based John Sadler, the meet's leading trainer; Delosvientos, stabled at Del Mar for breeder-owner-trainer Giuseppe Iadisernia; Barcola, trained by Mark Hennig in New York; Tres Borrachos, winner of the Swaps Stakes for trainer C. Beau Greely and a likelier starter for Saratoga's Travers Stakes Saturday, August 23; and Well Armed, winner of Del Mar's San Diego Handicap for trainer Eoin Harty.
Zappa worked 5 furlongs this morning in 1:00.60 and Mostacolli Mort went 6 furlongs in 1:11.60.
TRAINER RON McANALLY RECOVERING FROM HORSE'S KICK
Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally was not at his normal post on the second floor of his barn overseeing the training of his horses this morning. Instead, assistant Dan Landers manned the spot for the absent McAnally.
The trainer was recovering in his Rancho Santa Fe home from a kick he received from a horse Sunday morning as he walked through the backstretch to his barn. A horse being ponied to the track kicked the trainer in the left hip while passing the trainer in the predawn darkness. Landers said the incident occurred about 5:30.
Landers said McAnally arrived at the barn and got his normal cup of coffee and mentioned being kicked by a horse prior to heading up the stairs to take his usual place. The kicked spot soon began bleeding and McAnally checked with track first aid before seeing a doctor.
Landers said his boss was expected to see the doctor again this morning, because the wound continued to bleed.
BIG AUSTRALIAN-BRED MAKES BIG IMPRESSION IN SUNDAY WIN
Prince Rexy, a 4-year-old son of top Australian stallion Redoute's Choice, made quite an impression on Del Mar fans as he stormed to a 1 ½-length victory in Sunday's seventh race.
A big, rangy colt, Prince Rexy was content to lie in wait in mid-pack for most of the 1 1/16-mile turf race before unleashing a powerful run down the stretch under Rafael Bejarano.
The colt came to the Neil Drysdale barn earlier this year, the trainer said, following one start as a 3-year-old in which he won. "He's a big-bodied type of horse," Drysdale said, and though he said he hasn't picked out another race for him, he added that he hoped to run him again here.
BEST PAL WINNER, RUNNER-UP MAY BE HEADED TO FUTURITY
Though trainer Doug O'Neill indicated following Sunday's Best Pal Stakes that the winner by disqualification, Azul Leon, might pass the upcoming Del Mar Futurity, he was a little less definitive about that this morning.
"The original game plan was to skip the Futurity," O'Neill said, "but maybe now we'll play it by ear. The decision belongs to the LaCombe family and Joe, here, will be talking to his dad about what to do next." O'Neill was referring to San Diego County resident Joseph LaCombe Jr., who keeps track of his father's horses in Southern California.
Azul Leon runs for the Joseph LaCombe Stables of the elder LaCombe, who raced Horse of the Year Favorite Trick as an undefeated 2-year-old champion in 1997.
Runner-up Coronet of a Baron, who crossed the finish line third but was moved up to second when Kelly Leak was disqualified from first to fourth for interference, will go forward to the Grade I, $250,000 Futurity on the meet's closing day, Wednesday, September 3, said trainer Eoin Harty said this morning. Harty also indicated that his Sanford Stakes winner, Desert Party, could come here for the Futurity, depending on weather and track conditions at Saratoga where he is training toward the Hopeful Stakes September 1.
Charlie's Moment, who was moved up to third, is not nominated to the Futurity and would have to be supplemented to the race for $10,000.
Disappointed trainer Mike Machowsky said the chances of Kelly Leak running in the Futurity are slim, but he would give the matter a week to shake out and then make a final decision. "I would love it if the Best Pal was two weeks ago, then the timing would be right, in my view," Machowsky said.
IDIOT PROOF, GET FUNKY HEADLINERS IN GREEN FLASH 'CAP
With a record of only one out-of-the-money finish in 12 lifetime starts, Idiot Proof heads a field of seven sprinters in the $80,000-added Green Flash Handicap, the featured race Wednesday at 5 furlongs on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
It will mark Idiot Proof's debut on the grass and the 4-year-old Benchmark colt, trained by Clifford Sise Jr. for owners and breeders Pam and Martin Wygod, could find some tough competition in turf veteran and 2006 Del Mar Derby winner Get Funky, trained by the meet's leading trainer, John Sadler, for owner Keith Abrahams.
Idiot Proof has not raced since finishing second in the Group I, $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen in the United Arab Emirates March 29. The colt's resume, which includes purse earnings of $1.2 million, shows a second-place finish to Midnight Lute in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park.
In contrast to Idiot Proof's first time on the turf, Get Funky has won five of 12 grass starts, with a second and two thirds. In his most recent outing, the swift son of sprinter Straight Man, won the Robert Kerlan Memorial Handicap, in which one of his victims was Jungle Prince, who finished third in Del Mar's Grade I Bing Crosby Handicap July 27.
Here's how they'll line up from the rail, with weights and riders: 2007 Green Flash champion Barber, 116, Alex Solis; Frank the Barber, 115, Joel Rosario; Bonfante, 120, Frank Alvarado; Idiot Proof, 123, David Flores; Magic Texan, 116, Martin Garcia; Get Funky, 122, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Peace Chant, 115, Tyler Baze.
FORMER CHAMPION NAKATANI OFF TO SLOW DEL MAR START
Posting perhaps the slowest start in his 20-year career, three-time Del Mar riding champion Corey Nakatani is struggling to find the winner's circle at the seashore, but his agent, Ron Ebanks, says bad luck has played a big part in the rider's problems.
"He lost nearly all of his regular clients when he was injured at Santa Anita in the winter," Ebanks said. "So he's had to rebuild his clientele. We're working hard on that. He's still the same good rider he's always been, he's just run into a little streak of bad luck.
"He's riding well and the desire's there."
Ebanks is looking ahead to some better days for Nakatani, pointing out he'll be riding In Summation for Christophe Clement in the Grade I Pat O'Brien Handicap Sunday, August 24, and Vacare, also for Clement, in the Grade II Palomar Handicap Saturday, August 30. He likely will keep the ride on Coronet of a Baron for the Del Mar Futurity.
Ebanks doffed his hat to the younger riders by saying, "The youth movement has changed the scene at Southern California tracks," pointing to Rafael Bejarano, Joel Rosario and his other rider, Tyler Baze.
BEJARANO BOUNCES BACK WITH THREE WINS TO SOLIDIFY LEAD
Rafael Bejarano returned with a vengeance, scoring three victories Sunday after his top foes gained on him while he rode at Arlington Park Saturday.
The 26-year-old native of Peru swept the final three races of the day to run his season total to 27, giving him a five-win cushion on runner-up Tyler Baze, who picked up one win on the day to edge out of a 21-21 tie with Joel Rosario and take over sole possession of second place.
John Sadler continues to lead in the trainer title race with 17 wins. Defending champion Doug O'Neill is still climbing, moving into a tie for second place with Mike Mitchell at 10 wins each.
SHORE LINES -- The 11th annual David Flores Golf Tournament to benefit abandoned children in Flores' native Tijuana will be held Tuesday at La Costa Resort & Spa. Competitors will play 18 holes in a four-player scramble format. Shotgun start will begin at 1:30 p.m., with an awards ceremony and reception about 6:30, followed by dinner.
TRAKUS FACTS -- Sun., 8/10 -- Peak Speed: Race 1 (Polytrack) -- Capt. Joe Blow -- 43.8 mph (first 3/16ths); Race 5 (Turf) -- Another Aleyna -- 43.1 mph (first quarter); Fastest Late Stretch Run: Race 1 (Polytrack) -- Make Mine Vodka -- 38.1 mph (final 16th); Race 5 (Turf) -- Masterful Miss -- 40.4 mph (final 16th).
DEL MAR COMBINED JOCKEY & TRAINER STATISTICS
(Current Through Sunday, August 10, 2008)
Jockey -- Mts -- 1st -- 2nd -- 3rd -- Win% -- Money Won
Rafael Bejarano -- 112 -- 27 -- 25 -- 20 -- 24% -- $1,485,860
Tyler Baze -- 119 -- 22 -- 14 -- 16 -- 18% -- $1,031,366
Joel Rosario -- 119 -- 21 -- 11 -- 19 -- 18% -- $822,408
Garrett Gomez -- 76 -- 15 -- 10 -- 12 -- 20% -- $1,078,015
Victor Espinoza -- 93 -- 10 -- 10 -- 11 -- 11% -- $600,230
Martin Garcia -- 77 -- 9 -- 11 -- 9 -- 12% -- $406,754
Joseph Talamo -- 72 -- 8 -- 9 -- 4 -- 11% -- $427,466
Jon Court -- 52 -- 7 -- 2 -- 3 -- 13% -- $237,740
Alex Solis -- 67 -- 6 -- 16 -- 13 -- 9% -- $431,200
Michael Baze -- 54 -- 6 -- 10 -- 1 -- 11% -- $366,067
Trainer -- Sts -- 1st -- 2nd -- 3rd -- Win% -- Money Won
John W. Sadler -- 64 -- 17 -- 17 -- 3 -- 27% -- $1,166,037
Doug F. O'Neill -- 57 -- 10 -- 12 -- 7 -- 18% -- $517,447
Mike R. Mitchell -- 43 -- 10 -- 5 -- 8 -- 23% -- $650,970
Jerry Hollendorfer -- 34 -- 9 -- 2 -- 9 -- 26% -- $331,529
Jeff Mullins -- 45 -- 8 -- 12 -- 7 -- 18% -- $343,607
Peter Miller -- 26 -- 7 -- 4 -- 2 -- 27% -- $229,500
Clifford W. Sise, Jr. -- 19 -- 6 -- 3 -- 3 -- 32% -- $180,920
Patrick Gallagher -- 22 -- 5 -- 4 -- 4 -- 23% -- $236,360
J. Eric Kruljac -- 12 -- 5 -- 3 -- 1 -- 42% -- $194,020
Carla Gaines -- 15 -- 5 -- 2 -- 3 -- 33% -- $268,488
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Sunday, August 10, 2008)
Winning favorites -- 53 out of 197 -- 26.90%
Winning odds-on favorites -- 14 out of 26 -- 53.85%
In-the-Money favorites -- 135 out of 197 -- 68.53%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 24 out of 26 -- 92.31%
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