Thursday, July 31, 2008
ZAPPA COASTS HOME IN COUGAR II HANDICAP
Barber and Barber's Kentucky- bred Zappa cruised to an easy early lead and never looked back under jockey Garrett Gomez in coasting to a 6 1/4 length victory today in the $150,000 Cougar II Handicap at a mile and one-half on the main track.
The Cougar II Handicap is part of the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In Marathon Division series of races. Thus, Zappa qualified for a spot in the $500,000 B.C. Marathon on Saturday, October 25 at Santa Anita.
Zappa accomplished the distance in 2:30.53, the first time the seldom-run route has been contested over Del Mar's synthetic Polytrack surface.
With his 12th victory in 33 starts, Zappa earned $90,000 to increase his career bankroll to $449,032. To his backers in a crowd of 9,213, he paid $9.80, $4.80 and $3. Tissy Fit paid $5.40 and $2.40, while the 3-5 Big Booster paid $2.10 to show.
With no perfect tickets today in the Pick Six, a carryover of $138,349 will be added to Thursday's Pick Six pool.
Cougar II Handicap
GARRETT GOMEZ (Zappa) -- "I took a look first time we went by the board and I liked what I saw. The time was right and my horse was just going along easy. I just wanted to keep him out of the bridle and let him go along. When we got over on the backside at the five-eighths, I eased him out a bit and let him do some running. Then when we hit the half-mile, it was like we were breaking off for a half-mile work. I got into him and he went. Then when I put the squeeze on him in the lane for all he had, he gave it to me and we were gone. Great trip; he did it right."
TYLER BAZE (Tissy Fit) -- "I had a perfect trip and my horse ran great. Unfortunately, so did the winner."
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Big Booster) -- "He ran good. No doubt about that. But everybody in the race was paying attention to my horse and nobody paid attention to the winner. When we went by the board the first time I saw how slow they were going and I thought they'd go up and put some pressure on him (Zappa). But it just didn't happen. My horse came running, but it was too late."
JOHN SADLER (trainer of Zappa and Tissy Fit) -- "I'm glad we ran 1-2; that's what we wanted. It didn't look like there was a lot of speed in this race, so we thought the strategy for Zappa was to put him closer today than he's been in some of his other races. The idea was to go up close on the pace. Big Booster only has one way to go, that's to come from dead last. We just literally tried to steal it and Garrett [jockey Garrett Gomez] did a beautiful job of it."
MIKE MITCHELL (Big Booster) -- "We just got outrun. The race set up perfectly for the winner. We ran our race. It's just hard to make up that many lengths carrying 121. But it was a good race for him."
What's next for Big Booster? "We'll run him on Breeders' Cup day (Sat., Oct. 25) in the mile and a half. He didn't have to win this race to get in. I think we're in already. I'd be surprised if we don't get in. So this is a good race to get under his belt and it gives me 2 1/2 months to get him ready on that track [Santa Anita]. With equal weights, it should be a different story."
By winning the Cougar II, Zappa has earned an automatic entry into the 2008 running of the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita on Saturday, October 25.
FRACTIONS: :25.65 :50.45 1:16.17 1:41.68 2:06.53 2:30.53
The time is an automatic track record. It is the first time the distance has been run on Polytrack. The old dirt track record for the distance was 2:29.40, run by Spring Boy on August 16, 1958.
The stakes win is the second of the meet for Gomez, but his 19th overall at Del Mar.
The stakes win is the first of the meet for Sadler, but his 23rd overall at Del Mar.
Read more articles in the Del Mar category.