The 3-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway, a $950,000 purchase at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, produced an impressive victory in a mile race at Santa Anita, covering the distance in 1:34.60 and earning a 97 Beyer Figure.
A month later, however, came the announcement that Fed Biz was off the Derby trail due to a “hind end issue” that wasn’t readily specified or diagnosed.
“It was muscular, not skeletal,” Baffert said Thursday. “We gave him 60 days off, then started easy training again. He’s been doing really well down here.”
Friday evening, Fed Biz is scheduled to make his return to racing in the $100,000 El Cajon Stakes at one mile on the Polytrack main course. Fed Biz, with Joe Talamo riding, is the 2-1 morning line favorite followed by Real Good Deal stakes winner Unusual Heatwave (5-2, Rafael Bejarano), Jimmy Creed (5-2, Garrett Gomez), Shaun Washington (4-1, Corey Nakatani) , Private Zone (10-1, Martin Pedroza) and Tribal Tribute (12-1, Kevin Krigger).
“I was thinking about running him shorter (6 furlong Pirate’s Bounty, Wednesday, September 5) or at a mile,” Baffert said. “This is not an easy spot. It’s a pretty tough race…
“It’s good to have him back, he was one of my top 3-year-olds early in the year.”
MALDONADO MAKING AN IMPACT IN SECOND SEASON HERE
Who was the jockey on My Dark Vada, the $83.80 winner in Wednesday’s final race that cinched the 12th Pick Six carryover of the season at Del Mar? Edwin Maldonado, whose two wins Wednesday (he also took the first on Adelta for a $16.60 win payoff) moved him into fourth place in the jockey standings with 19 wins.
Maldonado, 29, was born in Ohio, started his riding career in Canada, then moved on to Texas and Louisiana before coming to California for the 2010 Fairplex Park meeting. He rode six winners last season at Del Mar, his debut at the seaside track.
Call this a breakthrough or breakout meeting?
“You could term it that,” Maldonado’s agent, Vic Lipton, said. “But actually we started at scratch, zero, at the beginning of Santa Anita and won 18 there, then won 25 at Hollywood and (now 19) here. So it has been a continuous growth to where we are now.”
Lipton was Maldonado’s agent upon the jockey’s arrival in California. Lipton became gravely ill, however, and the combination broke up for awhile before reuniting to start this year.
“I think he’s the same rider he’s always been, it’s just that more people are noticing now,” Lipton said. “ He’s always been a great rider.
“There are times when you’re not riding the right horse and your ability doesn’t show. But I think he’s the best rider I’ve had, talent wise, in 25 years. His work ethic is great and hopefully we make a pretty good team.”
NINE TO VIE FOR JUVENILE FILLY CHAMPIONSHIP
A field of nine has been entered for Saturday’s $300,000 Del Mar Debutante, the penultimate Grade I event of the meeting and the race that determines the 2-year-old filly champion of the meeting.
Executiveprivilege, undefeated (3 for 3) and fresh from a victory in the Debutante prep Grade III Sorrento Stakes on August 8, figures as the odds-on favorite in an event that trainer Bob Baffert has won six times, most recently with Point Ashley in 2006.
Executiveprivilege, a $650,000 Ocala sale purchase in April, is owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the trio who combined on 2009 Del Mar Futurity and Eclipse Juvenile award winner Lookin At Lucky.
The field, from the rail out:
Heir Kitty (Corey Nakatani), Pat’s Back (Patrick Valenzuela), Miss Empire (Kevin Krigger), Speedinthruthecity (Joe Talamo), Wasted At Midnight (Ricardo Jaime), Mechaya (Martin Garcia), Renee’s Titan (Edwin Maldonado), Executiveprivilege (Rafael Bejarano) and Beholder (Garrett Gomez).
JOCKEY NEWS, UPDATES
Martin Garcia, with 999 career victories, has six scheduled mounts on today’s card: Bubba Fizz (2nd, 9-2), Miss Speed Dating (5th, 12-1), Awesome Prospect (6th, 15-1), Royal Encounter (7th, 6-1), Racing Aptitude (8th, 9-2) and Indicator (9th, 8-1).
Rafael Bejarano notched stakes victory No. 11 for the meeting aboard Tilde in Wednesday’s Generous Portion Stakes. The record is 12. With two wins on Wednesday, Bejarano tightened his grip on the meet riding title. With six racing days remaining, Bejarano has 47 wins to 34 each for Joe Talamo and Garrett Gomez.
TRAINER NEWS, UPDATES
Bob Baffert, with a record 99 career stakes victories, has heavy artillery to fire in the next two days seeking No. 100. Baffert will saddle favored Fed Biz in Friday’s El Cajon Stakes and Executiveprivilege in the Debutante.
Peter Miller, deadlocked with Doug O’Neill for the lead in the trainer standings with 18 wins, two ahead of Baffert, has four representatives on Thursday’s card: Idontrollonshabbos (1st, 5-2), One Firm Cat (2nd, 6-1), Londinium (2nd, 7-2) and Mine Fever (6th, 5-2).
CLOSERS – Ship And Win bonus eligible horses on today’s program include: Boca Boy (1st race, Jerry Hollendorfer trainer), Allura (4th, Dan Hendricks), Royal Encounter (7th, Mike Mitchell), Grassy (8th, Marty Jones), Polytechnicien (8th, Richard Mandella) …Works of note on Thursday: Main track – Byrama, 4 furlongs, :47.60, Lakerville, 4 furlongs, :46.80, Comma to the Top, 5 furlongs, 1:00.40, Rousing Sermon, 6 furlongs, 1:13.00; Turf – Champ Pegasus, 3 furlongs, :39.60; Byrony, 4 furlongs, :49.20, All Star Heart, 5 furlongs, 1:02.80.
Trakus Facts of the Day for Wednesday, August 29
Carrie Rose finished seventh at 9-2 in the second race, but was planted wide throughout by jockey Victory Espinoza. She covered 30 feet more than the winner, Van Brit, and 60 feet more than second-place longshot Eyes On The Prize. If you converted Carrie Rose’s added ground coverage to lengths, she went the equivalent of 3.5 lengths more than Van Brit and seven lengths more than Eyes On The Prize. While beaten more than six lengths, the added ground coverage surely impacted Carrie Rose’s final position.
Mary Helen’s Storm closed fast in the finale, but wasn’t enough to get by longshot My Dark Vada. Specifically, Mary Helen’s Storm ran the fastest final quarter and furlong, going 0.55 seconds faster in each split than the winner.