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Del Mar Stable Notes - By Hank Wesch

DAY 35

Oak Tree Stays Involved With Southern California Racing

The Oak Tree Racing Association, which for 42 years between 1969 and 2010 ran a fall race meeting that annually was one of the high points of Southern California racing, has not seen its flag fly for racing purposes for the past two seasons. But the not-for-profit corporation that channeled its profits into research, development and breeding, as well as other worthy charitable causes keyed by the theme of “horsemen helping horsemen,” still has a presence in the industry.

On the final two days of its race meeting, Del Mar will run the second editions of races Oak Tree helped establish and fund – the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf on Monday and the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf on Wednesday.

Both races are at a mile on grass with $100,000 purses and quickly have become key stepping stones to their race counterparts on the Breeders’ Cup programs, which this year will be run at Santa Anita Park on November 1 and 2. (The Oak Tree Racing Association previously had hosted the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita five times  -- 1986, 1993, 2003, 2008 and 2009.)

Last year the Oak Tree board also enabled the shift of one of its signature races – the Yellow Ribbon Handicap – to Del Mar. The mile and one-sixteenth turf race carries a $150,000 purse and again will be presented at the shore track this year, serving as the featured event on Monday’s triple-stakes card.

The Oak Tree Racing Association continues to attempt to be a positive force on the racing landscape in California through its president John Barr, its executive vice-president Sherwood Chillingworth, and its directors – Dr. Jack Robbins, Thomas Capehart, Dr. Rick Arthur, Richard Mandella, Warren Williamson and Robert Zamarripa, Sr.

Halo Dolly Could Serve Up A Double-Double In Yellow Ribbon

Halo Dolly successfully defended her title in the Solana Beach Stakes on August 18. Monday, the 5-year-old California-bred daughter of Popular, will be sent out by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to do the same in the Grade II $150,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap.

“We’ve done the same thing we did with her last year, with one work between the races, and she looks very good,” Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said Sunday morning. “She went faster in the Solana Beach this year than she did last year.”

Halo Dolly won the 2012 Solana Beach by a half length in 1:34.40 for the turf mile under Joe Talamo and came back 15 days later to defeat stablemate City to City in the Yellow Ribbon by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:40.40 for 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
This year’s Solana Beach victory was accomplished by a half length over Bella Viaggia in 1:33.40. It was actually Halo Dolly’s third straight win in the Solana Beach.

Four other horses have won stakes at Del Mar three years in a row:  Native Diver winning the San Diego Handicap from 1963 to 1965, Flawlessly winning the Ramona Handicap (now called the John C. Mabee Stakes) from 1992 to 1994, Track Gal winning the Rancho Bernardo Handicap from 1995 to 1997 and Zenyatta winning the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes from 2008 to 2010.

Halo Dolly is the 3-1 morning line favorite in a field of 10.

In Reality, Clenor Has Star Potential

For those who missed Episode 2 of “Stable Wars Del Mar,” the Fox Sports San Diego reality TV series in which the track is the starring venue, here’s a capsule of the racing developments:

Great Friends Stable, which is “warring” with rival Little Red Feather Racing, purchased Irish-bred 2-year-old filly Clenor for $250,000 and imported her from Ireland. She was an impressive, 2 ½-length winner in a $75,000 maiden special weight race on August 4. Cameras zoomed in to catch the delighted excitement of Great Friends head Scott Kaplan and trainer Doug O’Neill during the race and their enthusiastic speculation afterward that Clenor could go on to the Breeders’ Cup.

The reality of those dreams will be determined Monday when Clenor, the 5-2 morning line favorite, breaks from the inside post against nine rivals in the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf, a stepping stone to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Friday, November 1 at Santa Anita.

 “She’s a special filly,” O’Neill said Sunday morning. “The inside post doesn’t matter and it might help because it’s the shortest way around and she just wants to make one run. The other day she just walked out of (the gate). She should do better her second start in the U.S., but she doesn’t have early speed so we’ll just try to save ground and have her punch it home.”

Powell Seeks First Del Mar Stakes Win With Aotearoa

On Sunday, August 4, three races before several Futurity-bound 2-year-olds would compete in the Best Pal Stakes, trainer Leonard Powell saddled California-bred Aotearoa for an impressive 4 ½-length debut victory in a 5 ½-furlong allowance race.

In Monday’s I’m Smokin Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds, the gelded son of Good Journey, owned by Paul Viskovich, has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. And a victory would be the first in a Del Mar stakes for the 36-year-old Powell.

“The first time out he ran in a very good fashion and I think he has moved a little bit forward in his training,” Powell said Sunday. “We are going from a maiden to a stake because there’s nothing else for him to run in, but he has shown a lot of talent in the morning and hopefully he can repeat that in the afternoon.”

Debutante Winner Ready To Embark On Breeders’ Cup Quest

She’s a Tiger came out of her victory in Saturday’s Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante in good shape, trainer Jeff Bonde said Sunday, and will probably ship on Wednesday to Santa Anita, site of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Friday, November 1.

“That’s the dream,” Bonde said after She’s a Tiger bounced back from a half-length loss to Concave in the Sorrento Stakes on August 7 with a half-length victory over

Fascinating in the Debutante. Concave was third.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who finished second with Fascinating, fourth with Secret Compass and seventh with favored Awesome Baby said all three came out of the race fine

“Everything went smooth until we couldn’t catch (She’s a Tiger),” Baffert said. “The winner ran an impressive race to keep on going the way she did. Other than (Awesome Baby), who got pretty tired, I was pretty happy with the way our horses ran.  They looked like they were coming on late.”

Jockey News And Updates

With three wins on Saturday, Victor Espinoza increased his total to 21 and moved past Joe Talamo into fifth place in the standings, one behind Julien Leparoux.

Leparoux and Rafael Bejarano, the meet leader with 43 wins, made an unfruitful trip to Saratoga on Saturday, going winless with a combined six mounts. In the $750,000 Woodward Stakes, Leparoux was third on Successful Dan, Bejarano last of five on Paynter as Alpha, ridden by John Velazquez, pulled off the upset.

Trainer Bob Baffert said that the post-race report was that Paynter was fine and would be returned to California and pointed for the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita.

“He missed the break and I didn’t like him running in the mud, but he’s fine,” Baffert said.”

The jockey race for the meeting appears strikingly similar to the Pacific Classic. Bejarano will win by a Game On Dude-like wide margin, but it figures to be very close for second through sixth, just like the Classic. Only six wins separate current runner-up Martin Garcia (26) and Talamo (20) with three days and 32 races remaining.

Trainer News And Updates

The victory by Summer Hit in Saturday’s Harry F. Brubaker Stakes was the fourth stakes win of the meeting for Jerry Hollendorfer, tying the Hall of Famer with John Sadler for the most stakes victories of the summer.

“I thought he’d get the lead but I was kind of surprised he was challenged so early (by Batti Man),” Hollendorfer said. “ I guess he is better (on synthetics) but you have to run on what’s available. He runs on anything really.

“I might take him to Golden Gate Fields for awhile, then send him back down to Santa Anita for the big meet.”

Two wins each for the Hollendorfer and Bob Baffert stables tightened the training race. Sadler continues to lead with 23 followed by Doug O’Neill (21), Baffert (21) and Hollendorfer (19).  O’Neill has six horses entered Sunday, Sadler and Hollendorfer four horses each and Baffert three.

Trakus Facts For Saturday

 Mum’s Truckee was moving fastest of all late in Saturday’s sixth race, running the fastest final quarter in 23.66 seconds, good enough to be tied for the ninth-fastest final two furlongs of the meet out of almost 600 starters at the distance. However, Mum’s Truckee covered 34 feet more than winner Socialbug. While she was beaten only 1 ½ lengths, the extra ground Mum’s Truckee covered in running equates to roughly four lengths.

CLOSERS – Ship And Win bonus eligible horses on today’s program are: Ransom Canyon (4th, trainer Tom Proctor), Redwood Kitten (6th, Wesley Ward), Play It Loud (9th, Jeff Mullins), Infinite Magic (9th, Rick Mettee), General Election (9th, Kellyn Gorder), Dorsett (9th, Michael Stidham) … Hall of Famer rider Laffitt Pincay, Jr., was in the stable area Sunday morning, delivering a product that treats equine gastric ulcers for a company he represents called Proud Truth. “Like the horse,” he said.

DEL MAR STATISTICS

Jockey Standings

(Current Through Saturday, August 31, 2013 Inclusive)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Rafael Bejarano

213

43

44

24

20%

$2,735,782

Martin Garcia

137

26

16

11

19%

$2,055,852

Edwin Maldonado

189

25

24

20

13%

$1,592,528

Julien Leparoux

119

22

10

19

18%

$1,676,122

Victor Espinoza

149

21

24

19

14%

$1,802,228

Joseph Talamo

224

20

32

32

9%

$1,714,374

Gary Stevens

68

17

8

7

25%

$1,279,066

Mario Gutierrez

110

16

14

11

15%

$879,236

Garrett Gomez

76

15

11

14

20%

$1,032,864

Corey Nakatani

111

13

13

17

12%

$1,167,452

Trainer Standings

(Current Through Saturday, August 31, 2013 Inclusive)

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

John W. Sadler

132

23

25

23

17%

$2,113,288

Doug F. O'Neill

121

21

21

22

17%

$1,299,236

Bob Baffert

87

21

12

8

24%

$1,990,726

Jerry Hollendorfer

78

19

10

7

24%

$1,283,060

Peter Miller

88

15

15

11

17%

$842,314

Mike R. Mitchell

60

11

8

9

18%

$624,694

Vann Belvoir

36

7

2

3

19%

$159,890

Mike Puype

49

6

7

5

12%

$436,922

Jeff Bonde

36

6

6

4

17%

$478,496

Jeff Mullins

42

5

11

3

12%

$455,544

Winning Favorites Report

(Current Through Saturday, August 31, 2013 Inclusive)

Winning favorites -- 92 out of 296 -- 31.08%

Winning favorites on Polytrack -- 63 out of 212 -- 29.72%

Winning favorites on turf -- 29 out of 84 -- 34.52%

Winning odds-on favorites -- 23 out of 37 -- 62.16%

In-the-Money favorites -- 189 out of 296 -- 63.85%

In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 35 out of 37 -- 94.59%