Stable Notes Day 1
By Hank Wesch
EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY HORSES, IN PLACE FOR OPENER
Del Mar is literally a moving annual experience for the horsemen and horses on the Southern California thoroughbred racing circuit.
And the horsemen, especially the veterans, have established ways of seeing that their horses get as comfortable at Del Mar as they do. Which horse gets which stall?
“There’s always a plan,” defending Del Mar training champion John Sadler said of the moving-in operation. “Some horses you might want to put in places where they can look out and see what’s going on, others you might put in a quieter area.
Sadler, 57, has been coming here for more than a quarter century. His stable is housed in Barns J&K, part of the original adobe stabling facilities built circa the track opening in 1937.
“One thing nice about Del Mar, it’s one of the last places where you can have outside pens,” Sadler said. “Some horses like to be outside, so when you can use the outside pen, it’s really good for the horse.
“Another thing about Del Mar, these old, original adobe barns are great. They regulate temperatures really well. It’s never too hot, never too cold.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has also made Del Mar the summer home for his horses for 25 years, most of them in late 20th-century barns FF &GG. When it’s time for them to move in, Baffert delegates authority to assistant Jim Barnes, who coordinates with the crew of stable workers.
“The grooms have their horses, they like certain areas and they get their choice,” Baffert said. “ I’ve got grooms who have worked for me for 20 years and they get priority. “
A similar protocol is followed at the stable of trainer Doug O’Neill, which is housed in the ulta-modern Barn Y just east of the grandstand.
“Each groom has their own set of horses,” O’Neill assistant Jack Sisterson said. “We try to mimic the setup at our Santa Anita barn with each groom and their horses in the same general area. With horses shipping in and out all the time there are some changes, but we try to keep it as consistent as possible.”
The stall reserved for the marquee horse of the stable that was occupied last year by two-time Pacific Classic winner Richard’s Kid? This year it goes to Goldencents, 2013 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner who is headed for the Bing Crosby.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
A look at the champions of Del Mar in 2013 and their current status.
Horse of the Meeting and Top Older Horse Game on Dude – In Bob Baffert’s barn here being pointed, at age 7, for a title defense in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic.
Two-Year-Old Colt Tamarando – Soon to return to training after being given a break.
Two-year-old Filly She’s A Tiger – At Del Mar, coming off a break and, trainer Jeff Bonde said, a possibility to run here late in the meeting.
Three-year-old Filly Discreet Marq – Engaged in an ambitious 4-year-old campaign competing at the highest levels in the East. Entered in the Grade I Diana on Saturday at Saratoga.
Three-year-old colt Gabriel Charles – Being given a break at the farm with a return to racing planned sometime in the fall.
Older Filly or Mare Tiz Flirtatious – Recently retired and currently residing at Harris Farms in Coalinga awaiting broodmare career.
Grass Horse Jeranimo—Retired, but stabled at Del Mar, “eating carrots and wishing he could race again,” trainer Mike Pender said. A deal to stand the 2013 Eddie Read winner is in the works.
Sprinter Points Offthebench – Deceased. Fatally injured in the fall of 2013 while training as the likely favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
THE LAST TIME DEL MAR OPENED ON A THURSDAY
It was July 22, 1999. On-track attendance was 28,410 and off-track 12,874 for a total of 41,284.
KEY WORK FRIDAY FOR CLUBHOUSE RIDE
Clubhouse Ride, winner of the Californian Stakes and runner-up to Majestic Harbor in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, will work Friday morning at Del Mar, trainer Craig Lewis said.
“We’re looking at the Pacific Classic or the Whitney at Saratoga,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “We’ll see how he looks and decide which way to go.”
Clubhouse Ride, a 6-year-old son of Candy Ride bred by Sid and Jenny Craig and owned by Six-S Racing Stable or Petralia, has five wins and 19 in-the-money finishes in 38 career starts and earnings of $1,320,132.
MAJESTIC KITTEN WELL MEANT IN OCEANSIDE
Majestic Kitten, unbeaten and untested in two starts at Woodbine in Canada in May and June, will make his debut for trainer David Hofmans in today’s featured $100,000 Oceanside Stakes.
Majestic Kitten is a son of elite sire Kitten’s Joy and was bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey in Kentucky. The 3-year-old gelding was a recent private purchase for Tarabilia Farms Inc.
“We’d watched him run, knew he was for sale and called and bought him,” Hofmans said by telephone from Chicago. “We liked his pedigree and thought he might be good for the Oceanside and a couple of other races at Del Mar.”
Hofmans-trained Schoolofhardrocks, fourth as the favorite in last Saturday’s American Derby at Arlington Park, is headed for Del Mar and a possibility to run late in the meeting.
GREAT FRIENDS EYES ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL DEL MAR
Great Friends Stable, the group headed by San Diego sports talk radio personalities Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith, has six horses for its annual Del Mar campaign and hopes of pulling off a coup similar to what it did last summer.
In 2013 the group, clients of trainer Doug O’Neill, imported 2-year-old filly Clenor from Ireland. Clenor went on to win the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf stakes here and compete in the Juvenile Fillies Turf race at the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.
Clenor has recently been retired and was sold to an owner in Ireland.
“She was sold with the stipulation only as a broodmare, not to race again,” said Craig Dado, racing manager for Great Friends and Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
O’Neill assistants Steve Rothblum and Jack Sisterson, who found Clenor for Great Friends, have acquired another filly, She’s Complete whom they hope will be the next Clenor.
CLOSERS – When Rafael Bejarano gets a leg up on Fit To Rule in today’s first race it will be the first competition for Del Mar’s two-time defending riding champion since he was injured in a spill in May at Santa Anita. The accident resulted in a broken collarbone, both shoulder blades and ribs. “This one (accident) was the worst I’ve had,” Bejarano said. “But it is what it is. It’s part of the game and you deal with it.” Concerning the riding title: “It will be harder this time, but we think we can do it.” … Diversy Harbor, runner-up to Room Service in the American Oaks in May at Santa Anita, is the 7-2 favorite on oddmaker Russ Hudak’s opening line for Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 San Clemente Handicap, the first graded stake of the meeting. My Conquistadory (9-2) is the second choice in a field of 12 for the one-mile grass run … Selected workouts from the 138 clocked Thursday morning: Fiftyshadesofhay (5f, 1:01.80), Goldencents (5f, :59.20), Old Time Hockey (5f, 1:03.80), Wishing Gate (5f, 1:02.80).
Thursday, July 17, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793