Sunday, August 24, 2008
Del Mar Stable Notes 8/24/8
SLIGHT INJURY TAKES McCANN'S MOJAVE OUT OF PACIFIC CLASSIC
McCann's Mojave, owned by Mike Willman and trained by Steve Specht, was withdrawn from today's Grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic at mid-morning because of a slight injury that developed overnight, according to Specht.
"I found a little filling on the tendon on the outside of his left foreleg this morning," Specht said. "I took him to the track for some exercise and it almost all disappeared, but I decided to have a veterinarian look at it.
The loss of McCann's Mojave reduces the field for the 1 1/4-mile race to 10. Here's the lineup from the rail: Awesome Gem, Tyler Baze; Mostacolli Mort, Victor Espinoza; Zappa, Alan Garcia; Surf Cat, David Flores; Barcola, Corey Nakatani; Go Between, Garrett Gomez; Well Armed, Aaron Gryder; Mast Track, Rafael Bejarano; Delosvientos, Joel Rosario, and Student Council.
All will carry 124 pounds.
The purse breakdown: $600,000 to the winner; $200,000 to second; $120,000 to third; $60,000 to fourth; $20,000 to fifth.
STUDENT COUNCIL HOPES TO JOIN SKIMMING, TINNERS WAY
AS DOUBLE WINNERS OF PACIFIC CLASSIC; NINE OUT TO FOIL BID
A victory in today's Pacific Classic would put Student Council in the elevated company of Tinners Way and Skimming as the only horses to win Del Mar's signature race in consecutive years.
Another sidelight of a win by the 2007 victor would make him the first double winner to be sent out by different trainers. His win last year came with Vladimir Cerin after owner Ro Parra sent him west after buying the horse from Will Farish. This year, the trainer of record is Steven Asmussen.
Student Council's path to this Pacific Classic mirrors his 2007 road, with six starts preceding his run at Del Mar. Even the result of his last start before coming west is a reprise. Last year, he was second in his prep at Churchill Downs, and this year he was second in Saratoga's Grade I Whitney Handicap.
He'll start from post 10, the farthest outside post, with regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan handling the reins.
HARD-KNOCKING LETHAL HEAT EXITS RANCHO BERNARDO FIELD
Citing the possibility that three races in 16 days might too much for even the hickory-like Lethal Heat, trainer Barry Abrams withdrew the 3-year-old filly from today's Grade III, $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.
A start in the Rancho Bernardo would have been her fourth of the meeting, all stakes races, and the third since August 8 when she won the Real Good Deal Stakes against Cal-bred males. Last Saturday, Lethal Heat finished third in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks.
Earlier in the meet, the Cal-bred daughter of Unusual Heat won the Fleet Treat Stakes for Cal-bred fillies. Also on her 2008 resume is a win in the Grade III Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita and the Grade II Hollywood Oaks.
Abrams said he would now wait for a possible invitation to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland October 11.
FUTURITY PROSPECT BELIEVE IN HOPE TURNS IN SHARP WORKOUT
Impressive Del Mar maiden winner Believe in Hope this morning turned in his most serious work yet for the Grade I, $250,000 Del Mar Futurity set for closing day, Wednesday, September 3.
The son of 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch went 5 furlongs in 1:26.60 with regular rider Jose Valdivia Jr. in the irons. Trainer Ron Ellis and co-owner/breeder Samantha Siegel could hardly have been more pleased. "He went great," the trainer said, adding, "Jose did an awesome job. I told him to go in about 1:27, so he was right on it. It was a perfect work."
In contrast to an earlier workout in company, Believe in Hope went by himself in this drill. "He'll have one more work," Ellis said, "an easy half-mile next Saturday. Then we're good to go."
VETERAN RIDER PEDROZA GETS A BIT CLOSER TO 3,000 CAREER WINS
Martin Pedroza, known as one of the strongest riders in the Southern California jockey colony, posted career victory No. 2,993 Saturday to edge ever closer to the 3,000-win mark.
The 43-year-old veteran won the day's sixth race aboard Return of the King for trainer David Bernstein. It was Pedroza's 10th win of the Del Mar meet, putting him in a seventh-place tie in the standings with Martin Garcia, David Flores and Joe Talamo.
By agent Richie Silverstein's reckoning, he and Pedroza have worked together for more than 20 years, "on and off," the agent said. The Pedroza-Silverstein team got together first for a 1984-87 stint, returned for 1990-98 and again from 2000 to the present.
In a jesting mood, Silverstein said, "I think he's fired me seven times and I've quit four times. But some of those only lasted about an hour."
So what's the key to the team's longevity? "After splitting up and getting back together enough, we realized there shouldn't be any finger-pointing. When you're not winning it's one of two reasons: either you're not working hard enough or bad luck. Bad luck will change if you have patience and work hard. If you're not working hard enough you have to determine whether it's one of you or both of you, and what you're both willing to do to turn it around.
"Changing agents or riders would not have helped the situation."
Silverstein credits modern communications techniques -- particularly cell phones -- with helping agents and jockeys maintain more consistent work habits. In the past, the agent said, there were times when jockeys and agents would be out of touch for periods of time because of their need to move around a racetrack's backstretch looking for business, sometimes resulting in missing work assignments.
Now, a cell phone for the most part negates that possibility.
As Pedroza picks up age along with his victories, Silverstein says that has brought some changes, too. "As he gets older, I try to give Martin a day off now and then. I see no reason for him to be out here if he has no workers. It's not like he's 20 years old and I'm taking him around and introducing him to everybody."
Pedroza has become the king of racing at Fairplex Park. He has won 10 riding titles, the last nine in a row, Silverstein said. "At one point," the agent said, "he won 51 races in a 16-day meet."
THE RACE IS STILL ON TO GRAB THE TITLE AS LEADING JOCKEY
Going into the final nine days of Del Mar's 43-day racing season, the title is still up for grabs for leading rider, while John Sadler holds what appears to be an insurmountable edge in the trainers' race.
The jockeys' competition continues to be a four-way proposition with Rafael Bejarano leading the pack with 35 victories. Joel Rosario sits second with 30 scores and Tyler Baze remains close with 29 wins. A little farther back but still in the hunt is 2007 Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez, who was absent from the action Saturday while riding Colonel John to victory in the $1-million Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Gomez has gone to the Del Mar winner's circle 27 times.
Though fourth in the standings, Gomez is second on the leader board in money won with a total of $1,560,055. Bejarano leads there, also, with $1,937,694, and Baze is third with $1,341,046. With $1.9 in stakes purse money today, there could be a major change in those standings.
Sadler's 25 victories puts him well ahead of runners-up Jeff Mullins and Mike Mitchell, both of whom have won 14 times. A margin that large appears impenetrable as the meet winds down. So the big fight is for second place, with defending champ Doug O'Neill next with 13 wins and Jerry Hollendorfer with 12.
Should Sadler take the title it would give him two in a row in Southern California for the year, following his winning of the title during Hollywood Park's spring-summer meet. Sadler was second at Santa Anita during its winter-spring meet, behind Mitchell.
MAIN TRACK MAINTENANCE:
On Tuesday, the Polytrack surface was power-harrowed and rototilled to a depth of six (6") inches. The track was returned to training and racing depth of approximately two inches and consistency through Gallop Mastering and watering.
Sunday, there were three loads of water (by water truck) added to the racetrack between training and racing time. Additionally, there will be one load of water applied to the running lanes after the day's second race.
Barring notable weather changes, a similar watering pattern will be followed each racing day, with the exception of Fridays and its later start.
On Fridays, following training hours, the track will be power-harrowed to a depth of four (4") inches, then returned to training and racing depth and consistency through Gallop Mastering and watering. No additional water will be added to the track during the racing card Fridays.
SHORE LINES -- Trainer Caesar Dominguez is not the least bit troubled by the fact fellow trainer Bob Baffert has pulled away from him in the trainer's race by winning his third race to two for Dominguez. "I'm still ahead of Bobby Frankel 2-0," quipped the irrepressible Dominguez ... Hall of Fame jockeys Laffit Pincay Jr., Mike Smith and Pat Day will be at Del Mar Monday afternoon for an autograph session from 1:30 to 2:30 in the Plaza de Mexico across from the Silks Gift Shop. They will autograph pictures or sign fans' mementoes. Proceeds from the session go to the Del Mar Racetrack Chaplaincy.
TRAKUS FACTS -- Sat., 8/23 -- Peak Speed: Race 4 (Polytrack) -- Speedin Excess -- 43.8 mph (first eighth); Race 2 (Turf) -- Pokomoke -- 41.4 mph (first 3/16ths); Fastest Late Stretch Run: Race 6 (Polytrack) -- Storm Machine -- 38.2 mph (final 16th); Race 2 (Turf) -- Bright Moon -- 39.4 mph (final 16th).
DEL MAR COMBINED JOCKEY & TRAINER STATISTICS
(Current Through Saturday, August 23, 2008)
Jockey -- -- Mts -- 1st -- 2nd -- 3rd -- Win% -- Money Won
Rafael Bejarano -- 169 -- 35 -- 38 -- 36 -- 21% -- $1,937,694
Joel Rosario -- 190 -- 30 -- 24 -- 31 -- 16% -- $1,281,799
Tyler Baze -- 167 -- 29 -- 23 -- 20 -- 17% -- $1,341,046
Garrett Gomez -- 113 -- 27 -- 15 -- 16 -- 24% -- $1,560,055
Victor Espinoza -- 122 -- 13 -- 16 -- 12 -- 11% -- $771,302
Alex Solis -- 101 -- 11 -- 19 -- 18 -- 11% -- $837,840
Martin Garcia -- 102 -- 10 -- 16 -- 12 -- 10% -- $509,668
David Flores -- 94 -- 10 -- 13 -- 17 -- 11% -- $955,781
Joseph Talamo -- 115 -- 10 -- 12 -- 10 -- 9% -- $575,375
Martin Pedroza -- 100 -- 10 -- 11 -- 11 -- 10% -- $415,457
Trainer -- Sts -- 1st -- 2nd -- 3rd -- Win% -- Money Won
John W. Sadler -- 90 -- 25 -- 23 -- 5 -- 28% -- $1,509,303
Jeff Mullins -- 66 -- 14 -- 17 -- 8 -- 21% -- $510,635
Mike R. Mitchell -- 65 -- 14 -- 7 -- 14 -- 22% -- $851,870
Doug F. O'Neill -- 87 -- 13 -- 15 -- 13 -- 15% -- $664,618
Jerry Hollendorfer -- 43 -- 12 -- 3 -- 11 -- 28% -- $448,129
Peter Miller -- 33 -- 7 -- 7 -- 2 -- 21% -- $252,580
Barry Abrams -- 37 -- 7 -- 3 -- 6 -- 19% -- $527,405
J. Eric Kruljac -- 18 -- 7 -- 3 -- 1 -- 39% -- $226,680
Brian J. Koriner -- 36 -- 7 -- 2 -- 1 -- 19% -- $210,700
Patrick Gallagher -- 30 -- 6 -- 5 -- 6 -- 20% -- $473,560
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Saturday, August 23, 2008)
Winning favorites -- 94 out of 288 -- 32.64%
Winning favorites on main track -- 65 out of 219 -- 29.68%
Winning favorites on turf -- 29 out of 69 -- 42.03%
Winning odds-on favorites -- 20 out of 36 -- 55.56%
In-the-Money favorites -- 206 out of 288 -- 71.53%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 32 out of 36 -- 88.89%
Read more articles in the Del Mar category.