Published Friday, November 7th, 2014   ( 8 years ago )

Stable Notes Day 1
November 7 2014

 By Hank Wesch

Phase III of trainer Mark Casse’s great western venture begins today with the opening of the inaugural Bing Crosby Season at Del Mar.
Phases I and II – the Del Mar summer meeting and the Santa Anita fall session which concluded with the Breeders’ Cup last weekend – were ones of moderate success. Casse had five wins from 38 starters at the Del Mar summer meeting and three wins from 26 starters at Santa Anita. Better than  half his representatives, however, finished in-the-money at each meeting.  
To start the Crosby meeting, Casse, a six-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s top trainer, has 40 stalls at Del Mar, the largest of any contingent. While the majority of trainers have opted to keep parts of their stables elsewhere and ship in for races, Casse is here for the duration.
“We thought about leaving part of them at Santa Anita, but I like to have them where I can see them,” Casse said Friday morning. “If everything works out, we plan to be pretty active. As long as they do well, we’ll keep them all here.”
Three of the four horses that Casse saddled at the recent Breeders’ Cup he plans to race here .
They are Kaigan (10th in the Mile), Conquest Harlanate (11th, Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Conquest Typhoon (4th, Juvenile Turf). None of the three  raced here last summer.
The one Breeders’ Cup horse for Casse that did prep at Del Mar, Conquest Eclipse,  finished fourth in the  Juvenile Fillies.
“The Breeders’ Cup has been hard on me,” Casse said. “Going in we didn’t know what Conquest Typhoon would do and he actually ran well, finishing fourth beaten three lengths and he ran way farther than anyone else.
“The disappointment was Conquest Eclipse.” The 2-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, third in the Del Mar Debutante and second in the Chandelier at Santa Anita in her second and third career starts, was never a factor as the 4-1 co-second choice in the betting as D.Wayne Lukas-trained 60-1 shot Take Charge Brandi  went wire-to-wire.
“(Conquest Eclipse) broke just a tad slow and they slammed her left and right,” Casse said.  “Especially early on Breeders’ Cup Day you couldn’t make up ground hardly at all so she was up against it. We’ve licked our wounds and we’re here to see what we can do.”
One highlight of the meeting, for Casse and Del Mar fans, figures to be an appearance by  Lexie Lou, the  3-year-old filly who last summer provided Casse with his first victory in the Queen’s Plate, first jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown.
“She’ll run  in the Matriarch  or we may run her against the boys in the Hollywood Derby,”  Casse said. The Matriarach, a $300,000 Grade I event for older fillies and mares at one mile on the turf is Sunday, November 30. The Hollywood  Derby, a $300,000 Grade I event for 3-year-olds at  1 1/8 miles on turf, is Saturday, November 29.

The combination of trainer R.B. (Bob) Hess, Jr. and jockey Kent Desormeaux, reunited after several years absent from the Del Mar summer meeting, struck for 14 wins in 36 racing days. Desormeaux finished second to Rafael Bejarano for  the riding title via a 42-32 win differential.  Hess was fifth in the trainer standings with 15 wins, behind co-leaders Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller (20), John Sadler (17) and Doug O’Neill (16).
“I think Kent’s out to have a really big meeting and hopefully we’ll be a part of that,” Hess said. “I think we’ll be competitive and hopefully we can hit at 25 percent, which would be our version of crushing the meeting.”
Like most horsemen on the Southern California circuit, Hess is enthusiastic about  a second session at Del Mar.
“I wish we ran here more,” Hess said. “Hopefully this meet will go well and we can have some more dates here in the future. I’d love to see this meeting run all the way up to Christmas here someday, but I don’t know if that will happen.”
The stable’s prospects for the meeting are solid.
“We have some new shooters, a horse called Blue Law that we’re excited about, a 2-year-old. We have a nice turf distance filly named Kabaya that hasn’t run in a while but she’s top class and she’ll run here.
“And we have some horses that ran well here in the summer that we’re bringing back and will hopefully run well again.”

Tribal Gal, a 4-year-old daughter of  Tribal Rule owned by John Pendergast and trained by R. Kory Owens, is the 7-2 favorite on oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s opening line in a field of nine for Sunday’s featured $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes. The field, from the rail  out for the 7-furlong sprint for  older California-bred fillies and mares:
Meinertzhageni (Fernando Perez, 6-1), More Complexity (Mario Gutierrez, 6-1), Qiaona (Mike Smith, 6-1), Warren’s Veneda (Tyler Baze, 9-2), Swiss Lake Yodeler (Elvis Trujillo, 5-1), Sweet Marini (Martin Garcia, 5-1), Sudden Sunday (Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1), Mon Petite (Alonso Quinonez, 20-1) and Tribal Gal (Victor Espinoza, 7-2).

The first stakes of the inaugural Bing Crosby season is named in honor of his second wife, Kathryn (Grant ) Crosby.
An actress most known for her role in Anatomy Of A Murder, she became Mrs. Bing Crosby in 1957. They had three children who went on to notable careers in entertainment and sports. Harry Lillis Crosby III played Bill in Friday the 13th. Mary, portraying Kristin Shepard in “Dallas,” was the answer to TV’s first big cliffhanger question – “Who Shot J.R?” Nathaniel inherited his father’s passion for golf, won the 1981 U.S. Amateur and was the low amateur at the 1982 U.S. Open.

Daily Racing Form National Correspondent Jay Privman, a Carlsbad resident, was asked about the new Bing Crosby Season’s import, to the Southern California circuit and to racing overall.
“Without Hollywood Park, and with Santa Anita running for six months, and another five weeks in the fall, it’s important to move horses around to keep things fresh. So it’s important for this meet to do well,” Privman said.
“I’m hoping the horsemen know that. I know Del Mar knows it. Hopefully it will be a success.”
Like everyone else, he’s curious to see how it works out. But makes no predictions.
“I have no idea how it will do because we have no point of reference,” Privman said.  “It’s obviously not going to be the kind of business it was in the summer. It can’t be because you have more people back at work and the kids at school. It’s a different time of year.
“But in the summer, the colleges aren’t in session like they are now. And I think Del Mar, wisely, is going to market to that segment much as Keeneland (in Lexington) does to the University of Kentucky. I also think a lot of people from L.A. will come down and make a weekend of it.
“You know from living here year round that this is a great time of year to be here. The crowds are smaller, the traffic isn’t nearly as bad as it is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. And the weather is fantastic.
“I’m optimistic. It won’t be the summer meet. But it’ll be better than the Hollywood Fall.” Opening day of the 2013 Hollywood Park fall meeting, the last before the track closed, was 2,772.

For the inaugural Bing Crosby Season at Del Mar, we offer a daily note, quote or anecdote about the track’s founding father for whom the fall meeting is named.
In 1946 Bing purchased a stake in the Pittsburgh Pirates who went on to win the 1960 World Series in a tight 7-game matchup that Bing was famously too superstitious to watch live.
CLOSERS – Funeral mass will be celebrated for Larry Himmel on Thursday, November 13 at 10 a.m. at San Rafael Catholic Church in Rancho Bernardo.  Himmel, 68, died Wednesday night … Jockey Joe Talamo will miss the opening weekend because of a suspension. Talamo recently lost an appeal of a three-day suspension given in July for causing interference in the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on July 18 aboard Texas Ryano … Eleven horses worked at Del Mar Friday morning with the fastest clocking at the distances being Monsters Testamony (3f, :37.60), Purple Rose (4f,  :49.60) and Verraco (5f, :59.40) …Word has been received of the death of former jockey Dean Hall. He was a winner of six stakes at Del Mar during his career including the 1980 Del Mar Futurity on Bold And Gold. He also was the winner of the inaugural Rocking Chair Derby in 1973. The Rocking Chair Derby provided the impetus for Hall to make a successful comeback.

Friday, November 7, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793