Published Friday, August 22nd, 2014   ( 7 years ago )

Stable Notes Day 27

By Hank Wesch


LATE SHUFFLING LEAVES DEL MAR HANDICAP WITH STRONG HAND

Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale scratched Topic, the  3-1 morning line second choice for Friday’s CTT & TOC Handicap, to run her against males – among them stablemate and 7-2 morning line favorite Fire With Fire – in Saturday’s Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Handicap.

Trainer Dan Hendricks, who entered Irish Surf in both the Handicap and Sunday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic, will scratch from the Handicap to run in the Classic. That created an opening for Ice Cream Truck, the lone also eligible in the Handicap (and also entered in the Classic) that trainer A.C. Avila said he was “80 percent certain” to fill.

And, taking account of all the “ins” and “outs,” the 75th running of the Del Mar Handicap stacks up as an important, prestigious and certainly worthy kickoff to the biggest stakes weekend of the meeting.

The Del Mar Handicap, 1 3/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf. It will have the solo stakes spotlight one day before Sunday’s stakes triple-header of the Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Mile, Grade II $250,000 Pat O’Brien and the Pacific Classic. The Pat O’Brien and Pacific Classic are “Win and You’re In” qualifiers for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, respectively.

In Topic and Fire With Fire , Drysdale has two horses coming in  freshened off strong efforts. Topic, a 4-year-old Discreet Cat filly, finished second but was disqualified to ninth of 12 in the Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial July 14 at Delaware Park. Fire With Fire, a 6-year-old son of Distorted Humor, has been away from racing since winning the Grade II Charlie Whittingham on May 24 at Santa Anita.

“(Topic) ran very well but in the stretch she got the lead and she veered out a little bit,” Drysdale said. “I didn’t like it (stewards’ decision), but there you go. I thought the jockey on the other horse (interfered with) was going somewhere he shouldn’t have been going.

“(Topic) has been training very well since.”

Fire With Fire took the Whittingham by a neck over Segway with Del Mar Handicap competitor Quick Casablanca only another neck behind. It was the third victory in five 2014 starts for Fire With Fire.

“He ran quite hard this winter, so we gave him a rest,” Drysdale said. “Now hopefully he’ll have a good fall campaign.”

Irish Surf ran away to an 8 ¼-length victory in the 1 ½ mile Cougar II Handicap on Polytrack on July 25. Given that performance, and Irish Surf’s subsequent training over the surface, Hendricks opted for the Classic even though 13 of the Giant’s Causeway colt’s 18 lifetime starts have been on grass.

Ice Cream Truck, a former $20,000 claimer, was third in the Cougar II. The 4-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect two prior starts, and one of his two career wins, on turf.


JIM ROME TALKS SHARED BELIEF: PART II

Nationally prominent sports talk show host Jim Rome is part owner of Shared Belief, the unbeaten (five-for-five) morning line 5-2 favorite for Sunday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic. While vacationing last week in Europe with his family, Rome responded to some emailed questions from Del Mar officials. Here’s Part II of the correspondence. Part I appeared in Thursday’s Stable Notes.

Question: Any thoughts about your 3-year-old taking on older horses for the first time? Are you concerned about your “boy” taking on the “men”?

Answer: “I'm absolutely concerned about our "boy" taking on the "men" in this spot.  Shared Belief has done everything right and everything we've asked of him.  But we've never asked him to go a mile and a quarter.  And we've never asked him to do it against older.  And I'm not sure he can.  Then again, we wouldn't run him in here if we didn't think he had a shot.  And if he's in the gate, and we get some racing luck, he should be a factor when they turn for home.”

Question: Realizing that Shared Belief is a gelding who hopefully will have at least several more racing seasons ahead of him, do you think we can count on him for next year’s Pacific Classic, and the one after that?

Answer: “After several years in this game, I've learned a lot of lessons.  Mostly I've learned, nothing is promised.  This game has turned me into an equine Belichick.  Or Tiger Woods.  ‘The course looks good.  My swing feels good.  I like my chances.’ This game is extremely humbling.

“Seriously, I hope he came out of all his works and makes it to THIS  year's Classic!  One day at a time.  Especially since we missed the entire Triple Crown season due to injury.  That said, this gelding really is once in a lifetime and because he's a gelding, here's hoping we keep him sound and we all have a nice long ride with him.”

Question: Anything to add? 

Answer: “If you're an owner, trainer or jockey on the West Coast, you want to run in this meet. And you want to run in this race. And most of all, you want to have a chance to win it. It wasn't that long ago that I used to just hope to score a good seat the day of the Pacific Classic.  Knowing we have a horse that folks think has a chance to win the race is unfathomable to me. Getting into this race a few years back was just a pipe dream. I have to ask our bloodstock agent, Alex Solis, who put us in Shared Belief, if it's real.”


NO COMPLAINTS WITH TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC DRAW

Connections of  5-2 morning line favorite unbeaten Shared Belief and 3-1 defending champion Game On Dude expressed satisfaction with the  outside No. 11 and middle No.  5 post positions at Wednesday night’s draw party.  Here’s reaction from the other major contenders:

Seam McCarthy, trainer of 9-2 third choice Majestic Harbor, Post No. 8 – “I would have preferred the middle to outside and that’s where we are. We’ve got the speed outside of us so it’s fine.”

McCarthy said he didn’t feel slighted that his horse, who finished a  combined 14 lengths ahead of Game On Dude in their last two races, was accorded the higher odds of the two on the morning line.

“Honestly, I thought we’d be a higher price,” McCarthy said “We’re lower profile connections so 9-2 is fine. The horse has been training super since we got here. The work Monday was exactly what we were looking for and he galloped out strong without much effort at all, so Tyler (Baze) was very pleased. That’s all I need to know.”

Craig Lewis, trainer of Clubhouse Ride, 8-1, No. 9 post position: “In a mile and a quarter race I don’t think you can get a really bad post. We just have to hope everybody breaks clean and it goes all right.”

Lewis related a comment from Hall of  Fame jockey Mike Smith about Clubhouse Ride, a winner of more than $1.3 million, most from two wins and six other on-the-board finishes in 14 stakes starts over the past 18 months -- “He’s like an oil well. He just keeps pumping out money.”


FED BIZ,  OBVIOUSLY MORNING LINE FAVORITES IN  O’BRIEN, MILE

Defending race champions Fed Biz and Obviously were accorded favoritism, albeit narrow, in the Pat O’Brien Stakes and Del Mar Mile, two $250,000, Grade II events on Sunday’s program.

Bob Baffert-trained Fed Biz, winner of the San Diego Handicap earlier in the meeting, was a one-length winner over Goldencents in 1:21.12, a Polytrack track  record in 2013. Both are back for 2014 with Fed Biz the 2-1 morning line choice over 5-2 Goldencents.

Obviously won by a nose in a course record 1:32.10 in the 2012 mile and repeated, clocking 1:32.64 in a half-length score, in 2013. Both wins were under Joe Talamo for trainer Mike Mitchell. Phil D’Amato has taken over for the retired Mitchell but Talamo is back to ride the 7-5 morning line favorite.

The Del Mar Mile, from the rail out: Obviously (Joe Talamo, 7-5), Tom’s Tribute (Mike Smith, 2-1), Tigah (Alonso Quinonez, 20-1)), Handsome Mike (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1), Alpha Bullet (Elvis Trujillo, 20-1), Rock Me Baby (Corey Nakatani, 6-1), Lil Bit O’ Fun (Aaron Gryder, 6-1) and He Be Fire N Ice (Kent Desormeaux, 10-1).

The Pat O’Brien, from the rail out: Diamond Bachelor (Julien Couton, 12-1), Fed Biz (Martin Garcia, 2-1), Silentio (Victor Espinoza, 8-1), Syndicated (Kent Desormeaux, 15-1), Goldencents (Rafael Bejarano, 5-2), Color Of Courage (Joe Talamo, 15-1), Big Macher (Tyler Baze, 3-1) and Indexical (Mario Gutierrez, 10-1).


BEJARANO TAKES LEAD IN JOCKEY STANDINGS

A win aboard Volkonsky in Thursday’s fourth race moved two-time defending champion Rafael Bejarano to the top of the rider standings. Bejarano has 23 wns, one ahead of Kent Desormeaux and two in front of Elvis Trujillo.

Bejarano’s agent, Joe Ferrer, downplayed the suggestion that Bejarano was poised to “pull away” to another riding championship.

“I wish it were true, but I don’t have that many horses (above other riders),” Ferrer said. “(The standings) are pretty even and it’s going to be tough for anybody to win.”

Winning Thursday’s seventh race with Brother Pete, defending training champion John Sadler moved within two of leaders Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller. Hollendorfer and Miller have 12 victories to Sadler’s 10.


HOVDEY BOOK SIGNING SUNDAY

Jay Hovdey, the Daily Racing Form’s Eclipse Award-winning columnist, will sign copies of his latest book “Long Rein: Tales From The World Of Horse Racing”, on Sunday, August 24, starting at 11:30 a.m. just inside the Clubhouse entrance.


CUSTOMER BASE FAVORED IN CTT &TOC

Tom Proctor-trained Customer Base, beaten a head as the odds-on favorite in the Possibly Perfect Handicap in her last start, June 26 at Santa Anita, is the 5-2 favorite for Friday’s featured $90,000 CTT and Thoroughbred Owners of California Handicap.

The field for the 1 3/8-mile turf race for older fillies and mares was reduced to nine by the scratch of Topic to run in Saturday’s Del Mar Handicap.

WHAT’S IN A NAME -- The CTT and TOC Handicap, inaugurated in 1997, honors the California Thoroughbred Trainers and Thoroughbred Owners of California organizations.


CLOSERS – California Chrome worked 4 furlongs in :47.40, the best of 15 at the distance, Friday morning at Los Alamitos with jockey Victor Espinoza up. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, off since finishing in a dead heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes, will return to racing September 20 in the Pennsylvania Derby … Ship And Win eligible horses on Friday’s program are: Agustina de Aragon (4th, trainer Eddie Truman), Grandiose Tactics (4th, Ron Ellis) … Selected workouts from 102 timed Friday: Diamond Bachelor (3f, :35.60),  Sweet Marini (5f, :59.40), Big Cazanova (6f, 1:13.40).


DEL MAR STATISTICS

Jockey Standings

(Current Through Thursday, August 21, 2014 Inclusive)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Rafael Bejarano

132

23

27

25

17%

$1,561,912

Kent Desormeaux

112

22

18

17

20%

$1,471,530

Elvis Trujillo

136

20

15

21

15%

$1,105,430

Mike Smith

80

19

7

9

24%

$1,453,002

Tyler Baze

147

15

21

17

10%

$1,134,960

Joseph Talamo

149

15

19

17

10%

$1,235,222

Fernando Perez

108

15

8

4

14%

$674,852

Drayden Van Dyke

125

14

17

18

11%

$832,328

Martin Garcia

92

12

9

14

13%

$843,344

Victor Espinoza

93

11

10

10

12%

$840,016

 

Trainer Standings

(Current Through Thursday, August 21, 2014 Inclusive)

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Jerry Hollendorfer

59

12

13

7

20%

$858,518

Peter Miller

88

12

9

15

14%

$670,322

John W. Sadler

79

10

9

16

13%

$876,358

Robert B. Hess, Jr.

41

9

6

4

22%

$353,500

Doug F. O'Neill

94

8

12

15

9%

$667,126

Philip D'Amato

44

7

4

10

16%

$478,350

Mike Puype

42

7

4

7

17%

$353,482

Vann Belvoir

32

7

2

2

22%

$178,760

Mark Glatt

44

6

9

8

14%

$473,962

Thomas F. Proctor

36

6

5

3

17%

$504,922

 

 Winning Favorites Report

(Current Through Thursday, August 21, 2014 Inclusive)

 Winning favorites -- 64 out of 230 -- 27.83%

 Winning favorites on Polytrack -- 51 out of 181 -- 28.18%

 Winning favorites on turf -- 13 out of 49 -- 26.53%

 Winning odds-on favorites -- 5 out of 13 -- 38.46%

 In-the-Money favorites -- 140 out of 230 -- 60.87%

 In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 9 out of 13 -- 69.23%


Friday, August 22, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793