Published Saturday, August 8th, 2015   ( 6 years ago )

Stable Notes
August 8 2015

By Hank Wesch

The deadline for nominations to the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic is Thursday, August 13. It costs $300 and there will be both serious and speculative names on the list at the end of the day.
Missing the deadline, however, won’t preclude participation by horses of late-breaking candidacy. Supplementary nomination, for a fee of $10,000, is possible up to the close of entries on Wednesday, August 19 for the race on Saturday, August 22. There have been six supplemental entrants in Pacific Classic history, three of them (Claret, Paseana and Jolie’s Halo) in 1992.
So we’ll know a lot more about the Pacific Classic late next week, and all about it when entries close the following Wednesday.
But, with two weeks remaining, the potential field is one befitting the Silver Anniversary running of the signature race of the summer meeting.
Squarely in the spotlight is Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s duo of two-time Eclipse Award-winning mare Beholder and graded stakes-winning Argentine import Catch a Flight. Mandella was clear about Pacific Classic intentions with Catch a Flight from the meeting’s outset and revealed thoughts about the race with Beholder after her easy victory in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes a week ago.
Beholder’s participation depends on her recovery from the Hirsch. Mandella said Saturday morning the chances remain good. If both Beholder and Catch a Flight run, Gary Stevens will be aboard Beholder and Flavien Prat on Catch a Flight.
Mandella won back-to-back Classics with Dare And Go and Gentlemen in 1996-97,
Hard Aces, the Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner, worked six furlongs on Monday in 1:13.80 and is scheduled for another work of six or seven furlongs on Sunday.
“He’ll have two more works before the Classic,” trainer John Sadler said earlier this week.
Of Beholder’s prospective entry into the Classic, Sadler said: “I think it’s great. She’s a classy horse and she adds some spice to the race.”
The $1.25 million Whitney Stakes Saturday at Saratoga gobbled up several potential Pacific Classic shippers from the East. But trainer Todd Pletcher scratched  Coach Inge from the Whitney on Friday and said the  4-year-old son of Big Brown was headed for the Pacific Classic. Coach Inge, owned by Mike Repole, has four  wins in 11 career starts, the most recent victory in the Grade II Brooklyn Handicap in June at Belmont Park, and earnings of $436,177.
It would be the first Pacific Classic representation for both Pletcher, perennially the nation’s leading trainer, and his major client, Repole.
Another East Coast shipper is Red Vine, whom Christophe Clement has committed to the race. Red Vine, a 5-year-old son of 2003 Pacific Classic winner Candy Ride, has five wins from 17 career starts and earnings of $365,715 for owners Jon and Sarah Kelly.
Jon Kelly, a Del Mar Thorughbred Club director, was part owner of 2005 Pacific Classic winner Borrego.
Red Vine has two wins and a second from three 2015 starts with the most recent being a victory in the $74,000 Majestic Light Stakes in May and a runner-up finish in last month’s Grade III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Trainer Bob Baffert is considering Bayern and Hoppertunity, third and fourth in the San Diego Handicap. Baffert has four wins and two second-place finishes from 17 Pacific Classic starters with his last victory by Game On Dude in 2013. The Pacific Classic is not being considered for Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.
Hoppertunity worked five furlongs in 1:00.00 on Thursday. A day earlier, Bayern, winner of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2014, worked six furlongs in 1:11.60.
Other horses the racing office lists as possibles, in alphabetical order, are: Cougar II Handicap runner-up Bailoutbobby; Gold Cup at Santa Anita pacesetter Big Cazanova;  Class Leader from the Midwest stable of trainer Neil Howard;  Imperative,  third in last year’s Pacific Classic, and Midnight Storm,  the  2014 Del Mar Derby winner.

Prospect Park looked like a Kentucky Derby prospect early this spring with a runner-up finish in the San Felipe Stakes and fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, both behind Dortmund.
But a virus that became evident after the Santa Anita Derby quashed thoughts of a Run for the Roses for the son of Tapit bred and owned by Rancho Santa Fe’s Pam and Marty Wygod.
Sunday, in the third race in a comeback begun in June, Prospect Park will experience grass racing for the first time as the 5-2 favorite in a field of nine for the Grade III $150,000 La Jolla Handicap.
“He acts like he likes the turf, but you never know until you run them on it,” trainer Cliff Sise said. “We’ve worked him twice over it and he went fine.”
Prospect Park returned to racing two months after the Santa Anita Derby in the Grade III Affirmed Stakes on June 7 at Santa Anita, finishing second, beaten a half-length by Gimme Da Lute. The same two hooked up in the Grade II Los Alamitos Derby on July 4 with Gimme Da Lute prevailing by a nose. Gimme Da Lute was an impressive winner of the Real Good Deal Stakes here last Sunday.
Two years ago Sise took a job in Saudi Arabia, but returned after two months and now has a stable of 29 horses at Del Mar and 10 more at San Luis Rey Downs. Seventeen of them are owned by the Wygods.
From the rail out for the 1 1/16 mile run the field is: Tried and True (Martin Pedroza, 10-1), Hero Ten All (Tyler Baze, 12-1), Om (Fernando Perez, 7-2), Over Par (Mario Gutierrez, 20-1), Cross the Line (Rafael Bejarano, 8-1), Papacoolpapacool (Gary Stevens, 3-1), Pain and Misery (Martin Garcia, 15-1), Pretentious (Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1), Prospect Park (Kent Desormeaux, 5-2) and Royal Albert Hall (Flavien Prat, 10-1).

With five in the six-horse field coming off victories, two of them in stakes, the  45th running of the Best Pal Stakes today looks to be a wide open race. The only colt listed at higher than 5-1 in the morning line of track oddsmaker Russ Hudak is Bistraya at 20-1. Bistraya, a Louisiana-bred trained by Ricky Agarie and ridden by Gonzalo Nicolas, was fifth in his career debut on July 18 on a rare sloppy track for Del Mar.
The Best Pal goes as the fifth on a 10-race card with an approximate post time of 4:10 p.m.

In 1990, Best Pal won the Balboa Stakes, later named in his honor, and Del Mar Futurity. In 1991 he won the first Pacific Classic. Best Pal was the harbinger of a string of standout runners for the Golden Eagle Farm of John and Betty Mabee. (Saturday, August 8, 2015)

The scratch of South American import Gusto Dolce Saturday morning reduced the field to eight for the Grade II $250,000 John C. Mabee Stakes.
Gusto Dolce, a 6-year-old Uruguayan-bred mare owned by Haras Phillipson Inc., trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Flavien Prat, had two U.S. starts in February and June and six works, three at Del Mar, in preparation for the race.

The John C. Mabee Stakes honors the memory of one of the founding directors of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. The master of Golden Eagle Farm he, with his wife, Betty, also bred and owned numerous stakes winners, including the inaugural Pacific Classic winner Best Pal.

The Triple Crown champion jogged one mile around the perimeter of the track under exercise rider George Alvarez. American Pharaoh stepped onto the track at the backstretch gap at 8:10 a.m. and exited about 10 minutes later. Trainer Bob Baffert said the schedule was for American Pharoah to take the next step up in his usual training and gallop for the next two days at least.

CLOSERS -- Ship And Win eligible horses on Saturday’s card are: Paynes Prarie (5th, Mike Pender trainer, *no bonus, stakes race), Chiropractor (6th, Tom Proctor), Notte d’Oro, (8th, Mike Stidham *no bonus, stakes race) and Real Heat (9th, J. Eric Kruljac) … Selected workouts from 197 officially timed Saturday: Uzziel (5f, 1:00.00), Holy Lute (5f, 1:03.80), Bailoutbobby (4f, :49.60), Marchman (4f, :48.80), Kobe’s Back (4f, :50.00), Distinctiv Passion (4f, :48.20) .. Jockey Felipe Valdez showed no ill effects of a spill on Friday, worked a few horses Saturday morning and was expected to ride his two scheduled mounts on Saturday. Valdez injured an ankle when unseated by Cyber Star while pulling up at the clubhouse turn after Friday’s third race and was replaced on two mounts later in the program.

Jockey Standings
(Current Through Friday, August 7, 2015 Inclusive)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Rafael Bejarano 87 17 16 12 20% $976,652
Tyler Baze 101 15 19 13 15% $925,050
Joseph Talamo 88 14 9 8 16% $791,800
Flavien Prat 88 14 8 15 16% $994,232
Mario Gutierrez 48 11 6 3 23% $533,746
Santiago Gonzalez 71 11 5 7 15% $602,904
Mike Smith 35 7 6 4 20% $684,850
Kent Desormeaux 45 7 4 7 16% $334,914
Martin Pedroza 60 6 6 5 10% $275,986
Corey Nakatani 42 6 6 4 14% $302,696
Trainer Standings
(Current Through Friday, August 7, 2015 Inclusive)
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Doug F. O'Neill 44 11 9 5 25% $564,870
Jerry Hollendorfer 39 8 5 2 21% $574,742
Peter Miller 64 7 9 7 11% $500,406
Philip D'Amato 31 6 5 4 19% $403,520
Richard Baltas 33 6 3 10 18% $323,452
Mike Puype 36 5 3 7 14% $296,050
John W. Sadler 23 5 2 4 22% $151,870
Jeff Mullins 17 5 2 2 29% $445,632
Mark Glatt 27 4 4 3 15% $230,640
Adam Kitchingman 14 4 4 0 29% $101,690
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Friday, August 7, 2015 Inclusive)
Winning favorites  37  149  24.83%
Winning favorites on dirt 28 105 26.67%
Winning favorites on turf 9 44 20.45%
Winning odds-on favorites 6 15 40.00%
In-the-Money favorites 85 149 57.05%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites 14 15 93.33%

Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793