A four-day suspension incurred by Chantal Sutherland while riding in an international team event on Saturday at Ascot, England, to be served August 25-28, may jeopardize her participation in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic as the regular jockey for Game On Dude.
Sutherland was among several high-profile jockeys who were penalized by Ascot stewards for infractions of that country’s rules regarding the use of whips. Other riders given four-day suspensions were Cristian Demuro of Italy and Yutaka Take of Japan.
“It’s sad, really,” Fallon was quoted as saying. “All Chantal was doing was giving a couple of little taps. Riders tap the horses to encourage them. It is not as if they are hurting the horses. It should have been overlooked for today. They are foreign riders who are not used to our (rules).
“From their own country, where they can hit a horse as many times as they want, they have suffered for it.”
In the case of suspensions levied by U.S. authorities, riders have an option of appealing and postponing the suspension period. There is also a “designated race” rule which permits suspended riders to participate in certain major events. The TVG Pacific Classic, the Grade I signature race of the Del Mar meeting set for Sunday, August 26, is such a race.
In question Sunday, however, was whether such options were available to Sutherland in the jurisdiction of England where the infractions occurred.
“I don’t know the details but she will ride the Classic, don’t worry about that,” said Tommy Ball, Sutherland’s agent. Sutherland won the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap and the 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup on Game On Dude for trainer Bob Baffert.
Del Mar stewards, however, confirmed that they apply the rules as they are in effect in England. And while several parties were looking into the matter, senior Del Mar steward Tom Ward said “there is that possibility” that Sutherland’s riding in the Classic could be in jeopardy.
Ward recalled an instance several years ago when U.S. officials upheld a suspension Corey Nakatani incurred while riding in Asia in similar, but not identical, circumstances.
LA JOLLA 1-2 FINISHERS FINE; DERBY LIKELY NEXT
La Jolla Handicap winner Old Time Hockey and runner-up My Best Brother came out of the race in good order and will be given every consideration to run next in the $300,000 Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 2.
The Derby, final in the three-race turf stakes series for 3-year-olds, is expected to also feature Bob Baffert-trained Midnight Crooner, winner of a division of the opening day Oceanside Stakes but given a break for the La Jolla.
“He (Old Time Hockey) is fine and we’re just sitting around enjoying a Sunday morning,” trainer Tom Proctor said. Proctor is a second-generation trainer for the Glen Hill Farm of owner Leonard Lavin and several members of the Proctor and Lavin families were gathered around an umbrella-shaded table near Barn X in the stable area.
In saddling Banned to win the Del Mar Derby for Glen Hill last year, Proctor matched the feat of his father Willard in 1973 when he won the Derby with Right Honorable for the farm.
Julio Canani, trainer of My Best Brother, said the colt came out of the La Jolla fine. My Best Brother led for virtually every step of the 1 1/16 miles except the last when Old Time Hockey was the winner by a nose. “It happens sometimes,” Canani said.
With the London Olympics coming to a close, the observations of two sons of England, Del Mar-based trainers Ben Cecil and Simon Callaghan, were solicited this week.
“I’ve watched it sometimes in the evenings and followed the news on line and on the BBC,” Cecil said. “ I’ve especially watched the ones where England has done well. I think indoor cycling is really going to take off in England, they’ve done so well.
“There are people saying it might be bigger than soccer over there. I think people are getting a little tired of the soccer players. They’re a bit Prima Donna-ish .”
Cecil said he hasn’t been back to England since December of last year. But watching the Olympics as presented by his homeland has been a source of pride.
“Mitt Romney went over and said they weren’t prepared for it. But it all went pretty amazingly.”
Like Cecil, Callagahan kept tabs on the athletic competition in London during its 16-day run which concludes tonight.
“It has been really interesting,” Callaghan said. “You watch a lot of sports that you only watch once in four years. Water polo and things like that aren’t what I would usually turn on to watch. But it has been interesting, competitive and a good year.
“Being in my hometown and the fact that England has done well, it’s a credit to them.
“When I’ve been back there in the last year or so I’ve seen all the construction and the work that’s gone into it. That’s been interesting to see the result of that work and they’ve done a really good job of hosting it. “
PORFIDO, VALENZUELA COMBINE FOR ‘OLD SCHOOL’ WIN
Porfido, winner of Saturday’s second race , is a 10-year-old import from Chile. His original U.S. trainer was the late Hall of Fame legend Bobby Frankel. Upon Frankel’s death, Porfido was trained by Frankel assistant Humberto Ascanio. And when Ascanio experienced health problems at the end of 2011, Porfido was transferred to the barn of Eoin Harty.
Saturday’s win was the third in seven starts for Harty and the 13th in 56 lifetime efforts for Porfido. Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, 49, who had ridden Porfido to back-to-back wins at Del Mar in August and September of 2011, was aboard for the first time since last October, a span of eight starts.
“He’s a nice horse to have around,” Harty said. “He’s in a class of his own. I think I’ve seen a couple of 8-year-olds, but he’s probably the oldest horse on the grounds that’s still racing.”
Porfido went off at 8-1, but the win wasn’t a surprise to Harty.
“If you run him at the right level, he’s still got a lot of piss and vinegar left in the tank,” Harty said. “He doesn’t have any major (physical) issues. There’s no reason why he can’t continue to race and race well for the foreseeable future.”
BITE WAS OUT OF CHARACTER FOR WOODMANS LUCK
The widely-circulated picture snapped by Rick Fernandez of Benoit Photo showing Woodmans Luck trying to take a bite out of Romeo Royale at the finish of Saturday’s sixth race could leave observers with a wrong impression of the 4-year-old colt trained by Mike Puype.
Consensus around the Puype stable Sunday morning was that Woodmans Luck was just frustrated over a few things – like finishing second for the fourth time in a row – and needed an outlet.
“He’s run second-second-second, and this time we think he’s going to win. Then he reaches over and tries to bite that horse. Runs second again,” said Jennifer Bramblett, assistant to Puype. “He never has done anything like that before.
“He’s very mellow around the barn, doesn’t act studdish at all, no aggression, not a mean horse. He’s just a mellow, nice horse to ride.
“Mike said he got bumped pretty good about that time, and that’s when he did it. He must not have liked being bumped.”
LOOK OUT FOR LAKERVILLE IN GREEN FLASH
“Absolutely,” said trainer Barry Abrams when asked if a victory by his stable standout Lakerville in Wednesday’s Green Flash Handicap would be dedicated to the recent acquisition by the Lakers of super center Dwight Howard.
“Lakerville, and the Lakers are going to keep on winning,” Abrams said. “He’s training super. No excuses.”
Lakerville scored victories one week apart on the July 18 Opening Day of the meeting and again on July 25, both at five furlongs on turf, the identical conditions to the $85,000 Green Flash.
A field of seven has been entered.
JOCKEY NEWS AND UPDATES
Del Mar-based jockeys Chantal Sutherland and Aaron Gryder were in England yesterday as participants in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, a four-team international rider competition at Ascot. Gryder was a member of the winning “Rest of the World” team and won one race while contributing 20 to the 59-point winning total. Sutherland , part of a women-only team, had a second and a third-place finish and contributed 17 points to her side’s 54, which was one less than the European men and eight more than the Great Britain and Ireland men’s team.
Sutherland and Gryder, who recently relocated from Northern California, both plan to travel back to the U.S. today. Gryder’s itinerary was especially challenging, as he outlined it to The National.
"I chose to make sure I can ride at Del Mar on Sunday afternoon by leaving on Saturday night,” Gryder said. ” I fly to New York where I have a 10-hour lay-over and then take an early Sunday morning flight to San Diego and go straight to the races.
"When you love what you do, you make the effort. I came to England for one ride in 1992. It was such a great experience. I rode a horse called Diamonds Galore in the Nunthorpe Stakes for Mr. Frank Stronach and got beat three quarters of a length. I was very young then and I was very excited to get the invite to come back to England."
Gryder is named on three mounts starting in the fifth race. Sutherland makes her Del Mar return Wednesday with three scheduled mounts.
With two wins Saturday, Rafael Bejarano hit the 30 mark on the 19th day of the meeting. Bejarano has a five-win lead over Garrett Gomez and nine over Joe Talamo. The victory on Old Time Hockey in the La Jolla was Talamo’s third stakes victory of the meeting.
TRAINER NEWS AND UPDATES
Doug O’Neill enters the final day of the fourth week of the meeting with a 13-12 lead atop the standings over Peter Miller with Bob Baffert in third place with 10.
O’Neill has three horses on the Sunday card and will have an opportunity to build his win total through next Saturday. A week from today, however, O’Neill starts a 45-day suspension..
Del Mar stewards clarified that while O’Neill serves out the suspension, he cannot have contact with the stable and horses he trains will be run under the name of assistant Leandro Mora and not count for O’Neill in the standings, all but eliminating the possibility of a fifth Del Mar title for the trainer who won in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010.
CLOSERS –Jockey Corey Nakatani worked Via Villagio five furlongs in 1:03.60 Sunday for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and has the mount on the 3-year-old filly in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes next Sunday at Saratoga … Other notable works: Great Hot, 4 furlongs :47.80; Kettle Corn, 4 furlongs :48.60; Eden’s Moon 5 furlongs, 1:00; Nonios, 5 furlongs, 1:01.60; Tilde, 5 furlongs, 1:01.00; Gladding, 6 furlongs, 1:12.40; Jeranimo, 6 furlongs, 1:16.40… Game On Dude is scheduled to work Monday morning, continuing preparations for the Pacific Classic … Daily Racing Form writer Steve Andersen was back in the press box Saturday, four days after suffering what he termed a mild heart attack, vowing to be back at work “with enthusiasm” next week. Andersen, 45, felt ill on Tuesday and went to Scripps Hospital. He was released Thursday following an angiogram and insertion of two stents… Ship and Win bonus eligible horses on today’s card include: Jodeye (5th, Christie Grisham, trainer); Prettypriceygirl (6th, Julio Canani); Catienus Gold (6th, Jeff Bonde); Hurricane Lake (7th, Bonde).