Saturday, July 25th, 2015   ( 6 years ago )

Stable Notes
July 25 2015

By Hank Wesch

Trainer Ron Ellis says he paid little heed, a year ago, to the well-documented controversy that surrounded the first two races in the career of the now 5-year gelding Masochistic.
Ellis did take casual note of how fast the California-bred son of Sought After out of the Unusual Heat mare Trotinette could run when he reeled off four wins in five starts – the first two here last summer – between July of 2014 and February of 2015 under Victor Espinoza for trainer A.C. Avila.
Since March, however, Ellis has become acutely aware of everything about Masochistic. More precisely, since his main client, Samantha Siegel, purchased Avila’s half of the horse for a reported $600,000 and turned him over to Ellis.
And Ellis will be a major focus of attention when he sends out Masochistic, the 6-5 morning line favorite, to take on four rivals in the $300,000 Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes. The Crosby goes as the sixth on a 10-race Sunday card with an approximate post of 4:30 p.m.
The change in stables has, by most accounts, brought something of a change in Masochistic.
“He has settled down a lot galloping in the mornings,” Ellis said. “Apparently he was a tough horse to gallop, but we worked on him about that and he kind of took to it. We put him on our program and my exercise rider, Marcel Gonzalez, does a great job of getting horses to relax.
“He’s not quite where I want him in terms of the races. But his second race that I ran him was a big improvement over the first one.
“I think because he saves his energy in the morning he has more energy overall. He used to just go out there and kind of sell out just galloping. Now he comes off the track with more energy and he’s not as quiet in his stall and around the stable as I understand he used to be.”
Masochistic is 2-for-2 since coming to Ellis’ barn, winning the Grade II Kona Gold in April and the Grade I Triple Bend in June at Santa Anita. In neither instance did Masochistic lead wire-to-wire as he had in his four previous starts and his Beyer Speed Figures – 102 and 109 – were the best of his career.
The Bing Crosby is a “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on October 31 at Keeneland, the ultimate goal for Masochistic.
“The Triple Bend used to be (a Breeders’ Cup qualifier), but it wasn’t this time,” Ellis said. “They had to pay a supplemental fee to get him eligible to the Breeders’ Cup so winning this race (Crosby) would be a bonus.”
Ellis’ plan is to run Masochistic here only in the Crosby, once again in the major fall sprint stake at Santa Anita, and then go on to the Breeders’ Cup.
“I’m running him back a little quicker than I would like, but we’ll roll the dice and hope for the best,” Ellis said. “It’s a small field and ‘less is more’ from my perspective. He drew well (No. 5 post). So everything’s good.”
The lineup for the Bing Crosby from the rail out: Kobe’s Back (Gary Stevens, 6-1), Distinctiv Passion (Edwin Maldonado, 4-1), Caminetto (Martin Garcia, 8-1), Wild Dude (Flavien Prat, 10-1), Masochistic (Tyler Baze, 6-5) and Appealing Tale (Joe Talamo, 3-1). Appealing Tale is also entered in Saturday’s San Diego Handicap and trainer Peter Miller expressed a preference Friday for the San Diego.

Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella has won 54 stakes races at Del Mar over the last 37 years. But there’s nary a San Diego Handicap among them.
He’s won the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic, for which the San Diego is the major stepping stone, three times. But the closest he’s come in the San Diego is a runner-up with Memo in 1993.
Saturday, Mandella will be out to change that when he saddles Catch a Flight, the 3-1 morning line second choice in a field of eight in the Grade II, $200,000 San Diego a 1 1/16-mile event on the main track.
“I was thinking maybe we needed to wait (for the Pacific Classic), but he looks real good and we’ve decided to put him in there,” Mandella said. “It’s a strong field and it’s perfect timing for the Pacific Classic and that’s why everybody’s in there.”
Catch a Flight was third in both the Santa Anita Handicap and the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the signature events of the winter and spring meetings respectively at the Arcadia track. The 8-5 favorite in the Gold Cup, he finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Hard Aces, who nosed out San Diego entrant Hoppertunity.

 The San Diego Handicap has been run every racing season save two since the track opened in 1937. Skimming used San Diego Handicap wins as a springboard to victories in the Pacific Classic in both 2000 and 2001.

Big John B and Bailoutbobby, the 1-2 finishers in Friday’s Grade III $100,000 Cougar II Handicap, exited the race in good health and with the possibility of running in the Pacific Classic although it might not be the No. 1 option for either.
“The Pacific Classic is definitely not out of the realm of possibility but right now I’d say we’re leaning more toward the Del Mar Handicap,” said Phil D’Amato, trainer of Big John B, after his horse notched the first win on dirt of his career.
Big John B. is the defending champion in the Del Mar Handicap, a Grade II $250,000  event at 1 3/8 miles on the turf to be run on Pacific Classic Day, Saturday, August 22.
Doug O’Neill, trainer of Bailoutbobby, marveled at the second-place effort of the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Mizzen Mast owned by Calara Farms, San Diego-based Great Friends Stable and Tippy Toe Racing LLC.
 “It (Pacific Classic) is something we’ve talked about,” O’Neill said. “We’re probably going to nominate for it and take a look.”

The Triple Crown champion was taken to the track later than his usual 7:45 a.m. time and jogged once around the perimeter under exercise rider George Alvarez. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s plan is to work the son of Pioneerof the Nile next Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, he ships to Monmouth Park in New Jersey for the $1 million Haskell Invitational on August 2 and will return to Del Mar the following day.
Before the morning exercise, Baffert gave San Diego Police Department officer Deb Ganley, a recreational rider and huge racing fan, a thrill when he allowed her inside the stall to pet and bond with the champion.
Ganley is not unaccustomed to being around champion athletes. She has provided security for Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines and last February made papers around the world when she was photographed driving the cart that took Woods off the course when he withdrew due to injury.

Little Red Feather Racing’s Sheer Pleasure is the 9-5 morning line favorite in a field of six for Saturday’s $200,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for California bred or sired 3-year-old fillies.
Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Tyler Baze, Sheer Pleasure has three wins in six starts and earnings of $269,450. The daughter of Birdonthewire was fourth in the Grade II Summer Oaks, beaten 5 ½ lengths by Stellar Wind, last month at Santa Anita in her most recent start.
The field for the Fleet Treat: Patsy G and Me (Joe Talamo, 10-1), Big Book (Rafael Bejarano, 5-2), Sheer Pleasure (Tyler Baze, 9-5), Missy Mouse (Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1), Ashley’s Sassy (Mike Smith, 6-1) and Kiss At Midnight (James Graham, 6-1). Abets Abet was withdrawn from the original field.

The Fleet Treat Stakes is named for Fleet Treat, a California-bred stakes-winning filly owned by the Old English Rancho of Elwood Johnston. Trained by Jimmy Wallace, Fleet Treat won a division of the Ramona Handicap and the Palomar Handicap in 1966.

TV actor Don Diamont, named "Sexiest Veteran Soap Actor" by People Magazine in 2009, along with other special guests will join lung cancer research advocates and supporters at the Lung Cancer Foundation of America's (LCFA) Day at the Races from 1-6 p.m. here tomorrow.
LCFA's "Day at the Races,"a family-friendly day, will feature a special "Breath Of Life" race to support lung cancer research and help educate the public about the disease.
LCFA's "Day at the Races" event is the brainchild of lung cancer survivor and LCFA advocate Paula Friendly.  Paula's late husband, Hollywood producer Ed Friendly (co-producer of "Laugh-In," "Little House on the Prairie" among others) established the Thoroughbred Owners of California in 1993 and was president of California's Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. Paula remains involved with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and maintains her friendship with track President and CEO Joe Harper, and his wife Barbara.

CLOSERS – Bob Baffert on Sky Kingdom and Cat Burglar, third and fifth as the first and second favorites in Friday’s Cougar II: “They (combined to) beat each other. I probably shouldn’t have run Cat Burglar in there” … The win aboard Matter Of Luck in Friday’s nightcap was the 994th in the career of jockey Edwin Maldonado. His drive to 1,000 continues with two mounts on Saturday’s card … Jockey Jack Gilligan, who has mounts aboard Taylor Lane in the seventh race and Championofjustice in the ninth, both for trainer Michael Ewing, is an 18-year-old Englishman who has in excess of 50 career wins. He has been riding in Indiana but is looking to relocate to California and ride here again later in the meeting … Selected works from 185 officially timed Saturday morning: Honey Ride (6f, 1:12.00), Governor Charlie (5f, :59.60).

Jockey Standings
(Current Through Friday, July 24, 2015 Inclusive)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Flavien Prat 36 8 4 8 22% $519,470
Rafael Bejarano 33 6 7 3 18% $314,662
Mario Gutierrez 21 6 2 0 29% $240,686
Joseph Talamo 32 6 0 2 19% $260,630
Santiago Gonzalez 23 5 1 3 22% $290,414
Mike Smith 18 4 4 4 22% $492,414
Drayden Van Dyke 18 4 1 3 22% $153,334
Tyler Baze 39 3 7 7 8% $240,682
Kent Desormeaux 20 3 4 4 15% $159,680
Fernando Perez 27 2 5 3 7% $105,726
Trainer Standings
(Current Through Friday, July 24, 2015 Inclusive)
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won
Peter Miller 28 5 2 4 18% $294,900
Jerry Hollendorfer 18 4 2 1 22% $219,492
Jeff Mullins 9 4 1 1 44% $395,392
Doug F. O'Neill 22 3 4 3 14% $194,690
Mike Puype 15 3 1 3 20% $155,020
Vann Belvoir 13 3 1 1 23% $95,320
Robert B. Hess, Jr. 10 3 0 3 30% $67,470
Richard E. Mandella 9 2 2 3 22% $229,280
James M. Cassidy 16 2 2 1 13% $203,540
Philip D'Amato 9 2 2 0 22% $148,840
Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Friday, July 24, 2015 Inclusive)
Winning favorites 19  61  31.15%
Winning favorites on dirt 16 45 35.56%
Winning favorites on turf 3 16 18.75%
Winning odds-on favorites 0 3 0.00%
In-the-Money favorites 35 61 57.38%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites 2 3 66.67%

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