Two Saratoga-based Pacific Classic prospects, one at Churchill Downs and one at Del Mar, put in their final serious works this morning for Sunday's Grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic at 1 1/4 miles on the Del Mar main track.
Defending champion Student Council polished off his final work with an easy half-mile in 49.89 at Saratoga for trainer Steven Asmussen. Out of Control, one of two Robert Frankel trainees heading for the Pacific Classic, went 5 furlongs in 1:00.12, also at Saratoga. Frankel's Hollywood Gold Cup winner Mast Track came out of his 6-furlong Sunday move at Del Mar in good shape and is going forward, said Frankel assistant Humberto Ascanio.
That leaves winner and runner-up in the San Diego Handicap Well Armed and Surf Cat, as well as Delosvientos to finish Pacific Classic preparations. The first two named are scheduled to work Tuesday and Delosvientos is on a Wednesday work schedule.
Out of Control, Student Council and Barcola, who worked at Belmont Park Sunday, will ship to Del Mar Tuesday, and Go Between on Wednesday.
Entries will be taken Wednesday and the post-position draw will be held Wednesday night at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.
In addition to the aforementioned runners, these are the other prospects: Awesome Gem, McCann's Mojave and Zappa, adding up to a field of 12. Trainer John Sadler's Tissy Fit had been a prospect, but the trainer said this morning the horse would go in the Grade II, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap on Saturday instead.
MIDNIGHT LUTE TURNS IN ANOTHER STERLING WORKOUT
Midnight Lute, 2007 champion sprinter who is listed as a possible starter in Sunday's Grade II, $300,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap, worked a sharp 5 furlongs in 58.20, with a final quarter in 23 seconds flat, this morning on the main track.
Trainer Bob Baffert has not committed definitely to the 7-furlong Pat O'Brien, considering, also, Saratoga's Grade I, Forego Handicap Saturday, August 30. Jockey Garrett Gomez has the call here if Midnight Lute goes in the O'Brien. The weights come out today.
Joining the potential field is Lewis Michael from the Arlington Park barn of Wayne Catalano. The 5-year-old son of Rahy will be making only his second start of the year. In his debut, he finished fourth, beaten a length, in Arlington Park's Sea O' Erin Handicap July 26.
While Lewis Michael joined the group, Johnny Eves defected. Trainer Jay Robbins said this morning he plans to run the sprinter in the overnight $85,000 Windy Sands Handicap at a mile on the main track Monday, September 1.
Also expected for the race are Arson Squad, with David Flores; Barbecue Eddie, Aaron Gryder; Bullsbay, Victor Espinoza; Doppio, no rider named; Five Star Thief, Joel Rosario; How's Your Halo, no rider; Hurry Up Austin, Jon Court, and In Summation, Corey Nakatani.
FULL FIELD APPEARS LIKELY FOR GRADE II DEL MAR HANDICAP
With the decision by trainer John Sadler to send Tissy Fit into the Del Mar Handicap, a full field seems likely for Saturday's 1 3/8-mile race on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Sadler was still looking for a rider this morning, but he said Tissy Fit is a "go" for the Grade II, $250,000 race that is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge's "Win and You're In" program. The winner is guaranteed a spot in the Grade I, $3-million Breeders' Cup Turf at 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita Saturday, October 25.
Along with Tissy Fit, the list of committed runners includes Neil Drysdale's Cedar Mountain, a pair from the Mike Mitchell barn, Church Service with Brice Blanc and You Got Me Rocking with Joel Rosario; Transduction Gold with Jon Court; Runaway Dancer and Spring House. On the "possible" list are Heroi do Bafra and Mr. Universo, both trained by Paulo Lobo; Porfido, from the Robert Frankel barn, and Gary Mandella's American Imperium.
AT LEAST SIX TURF EXPERTS LINING UP FOR DEL MAR MILE
Near-millionaire Daytona figures to lead a field of at least six and perhaps 10 in Sunday's 22nd running of the Grade II, $400,000 Del Mar Mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. The winner is guaranteed a spot in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Saturday, October 25.
Daytona, a multiple graded stakes winner with career earnings of $967,690, comes to the race from an uncharacteristic sixth-place finish in Hollywood Park's Grade II American Handicap at 1 1/8 miles and turns back to his favorite distance in Sunday's race. Regular rider Alex Solis retains the call.
American Handicap winner Whatsthescript, with Garrett Gomez up, returns to tackle Daytona, and, in addition, will take on his most recent conqueror, Monzante, winner of Del Mar's Grade I Eddie Read Handicap, in which Whatsthescript was second.
Wickerr Handicap winner One Union and third-place finisher Dark Islander, beaten two noses for the big prize, have been committed, also, as has Willow O Wisp, who was Del Mar's Horse of the Meet in 2005, but has been racing in claiming ranks recently. Dark Islander worked 7 furlongs this morning on the turf course in 1:28.20.
Still a prospect is Robert Frankel trainee Storm Military, second in the American Handicap and third in the Eddie Read. The 6-year-old Argentine son of Bernstein worked a sharp 5 furlongs this morning on the main track in 1:00.20.
CONSISTENT DEAREST TRICKSKI HEADS RANCHO BERNARDO LIST
Trainer John Sadler's ultra-consistent Dearest Trickski, with 10 wins in 15 lifetime starts, heads a list of six fillies and mares headed for Sunday's Grade III, $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.
The big prize in the race is a guaranteed spot in the $1-million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Sprint set for Friday, October 24 at Santa Anita.
Sadler, who won the Rancho Bernardo three years in a row, 1995-97, with Track Gal, brings Dearest Trickski to the race from a solid victory in Hollywood Park's Grade II A Gleam Handicap, a race in which she defeated, among others, Magnificience, who is back to tackle her again in the Rancho Bernardo.
Also expected: C.E.R.F Handicap winner and runner-up Highland Torree and La Tee, multiple stakes winner Tiz Elemental, and 2007 Cal-bred 2-year-old filly champion Spring Awakening.
The Christophe Clement-trained Society Hostess is possible for the race.
ABRAMS DUO EXITS SOLANA BEACH 'CAP, EYES OTHER STAKES
America's Friend and Lightmyfirebaby, 1-2 finishers in Sunday's $109,700 Solana Beach Handicap, were reported in good shape this morning by trainer Barry Abrams, who already has mapped out their next starts.
America's Friend is headed toward the Grade II, $200,000 Palomar Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course Saturday, August 30, and Lightmyfirebaby will run next in the 5-furlong Daisycutter Handicap on the Del Mar turf on the meet's closing day, Wednesday, September 3.
The victory by America's Friend gave jockey Alex Solis a sweep of the weekend stakes races. He gets a chance to win his third in a row Wednesday with Booyah in the Harry F. Brubaker Handicap.
Abrams, ever cognizant of the accomplishments of his runners, pointed out this morning that the barn's five stakes-caliber females sired by Unusual Heat have racked up earnings of a little more than $1.6 million this year, according to Daily Racing Form figures. Here's the breakdown: Lethal Heat, $426,528; Bel Air Sizzle, $366,866; Golden Doc A, $330,833; Lightmyfirebaby, $265,831, and America's Friend, $234,972.
GRADED STAKES VET HYPERBARIC LEADS FIELD OF 10 IN BRUBAKER
With four horses coming off wins and a back-class veteran leading the way, 10 older horses are set to run in Wednesday's $80,000-added Harry F. Brubaker Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Winners coming into the race are Hyperbaric, first in an allowance/optional claimer July 28 here and a solid in-the-money finisher in the Grade II Arcadia Handicap, the Grade I Shoemaker Mile and Grade II American Handicap, Black Astor, Rush Rush and Booyah.
Hyperbaric is clearly the top performer going into the race, but a back-class nod has to go to Worldly, also. The 4-year-old son of Selkirk won Del Mar's 2007 Grade II La Jolla Handicap by disqualification and finished third in the Grade II Del Mar Derby.
Here's the lineup, with weights and riders: Sartorial, 116, Tyler Baze; Knockout Artist, 116, Corey Nakatani; Canteen, 116, Rafael Bejarano; Hyperbaric, 120, Garrett Gomez; Vauquelin, 115, Joel Rosario; Black Astor, 115, Joe Talamo; Rush Rush, 115, Michael Baze; Booyah, 113, Alex Solis; Worldly, 116, Aaron Gryder; Bonjour, 114, Martin Garcia.
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.
Monday, 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 -- Fresh from a day off because of a foot injury suffered in a morning training accident, jockey Tyler Baze rolled to two victories Sunday to gain some ground on leader Rafael Bejarano and runner-up Joel Rosario, both of whom were winless on the day. Baze now has 25 wins to Rosario's 27 and Bejarano's 30. Garrett Gomez continues to win, moving up the totals ladder with 22 now ... Colonel John, headed for Saturday's Travers Stakes at Saratoga, put in his final work this morning, going 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 with regular work rider Iggy Puglisi aboard for trainer Eoin Harty. Colonel John heads east Wednesday ... The Craig Dollase-trained Tropic Storm was third in a blanket finish in the Grade III Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs Sunday, with Aaron Gryder aboard. Washington-bred Wasserman was the winner with True Metropolitan second.
TRAKUS FACTS -- Sun., 8/17 -- Peak Speed: Race 2 (Polytrack) -- Newport Topper -- 61.6 mph (first 5/8ths); Race 7 (Turf) -- Silver Z -- 42.8 mph (first eighth); Fastest Late Stretch Run: Race 1 (Polytrack) -- Yankee Visionary -- 37.4 mph (final 16th); Race 5 (Turf) -- Tycoon Doby -- 39.6 mph (final 16th).
DEL MAR COMBINED JOCKEY & TRAINER STATISTICS
(Current Through Sunday, August 17, 2008)
Jockey -- Mts -- 1st -- 2nd -- 3rd -- Win% -- Money Won
Rafael Bejarano -- 144 -- 30 -- 32 -- 30 -- 21% -- $1,720,014
Joel Rosario -- 162 -- 27 -- 19 -- 26 -- 17% -- $1,085,584
Tyler Baze -- 147 -- 25 -- 19 -- 20 -- 17% -- $1,170,143
Garrett Gomez -- 98 -- 22 -- 14 -- 12 -- 22% -- $1,387,305
Victor Espinoza -- 110 -- 12 -- 15 -- 12 -- 11% -- $719,510
Alex Solis -- 82 -- 10 -- 18 -- 17 -- 12% -- $792,840
Martin Garcia -- 86 -- 10 -- 12 -- 10 -- 12% -- $464,947
Joseph Talamo -- 94 -- 9 -- 12 -- 6 -- 10% -- $495,176
Martin Pedroza -- 92 -- 9 -- 9 -- 10 -- 10% -- $375,717
David Flores -- 83 -- 8 -- 13 -- 12 -- 10% -- $849,365
Trainer -- Sts -- 1st -- 2nd -- 3rd -- Win% -- Money Won
John W. Sadler -- 78 -- 22 -- 20 -- 5 -- 28% -- $1,394,863
Jeff Mullins -- 58 -- 13 -- 14 -- 8 -- 22% -- $468,995
Doug F. O'Neill -- 70 -- 12 -- 13 -- 10 -- 17% -- $590,481
Mike R. Mitchell -- 57 -- 12 -- 7 -- 12 -- 21% -- $749,990
Jerry Hollendorfer -- 39 -- 11 -- 3 -- 9 -- 28% -- $416,529
Peter Miller -- 29 -- 7 -- 5 -- 2 -- 24% -- $234,700
Barry Abrams -- 29 -- 7 -- 3 -- 6 -- 24% -- $512,557
Patrick Gallagher -- 28 -- 6 -- 5 -- 6 -- 21% -- $472,760
Clifford W. Sise, Jr. -- 22 -- 6 -- 4 -- 3 -- 27% -- $203,508
William Spawr -- 32 -- 5 -- 4 -- 2 -- 16% -- $193,496
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Sunday, August 17, 2008)
Winning favorites -- 74 out of 247 -- 29.96%
Winning favorites on main track -- 53 out of 189 -- 28.04%
Winning favorites on turf -- 21 out of 58 -- 36.21%
Winning odds-on favorites -- 16 out of 30 -- 53.33%
In-the-Money favorites -- 172 out of 247 -- 69.64%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 27 out of 30 -- 90.00%