MARE ON THE MOVE â€“ Ann and Jerry Mossâ€™ undefeated Zenyatta finishes up her final major drill for next Sundayâ€™s (August 9) $300,000, Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar Race Track Sunday morning, August 2, 2009 at the seaside track in Del Mar, CA. The strapping 5-year-old by Street Cry worked five furlongs in company in 1:00, with clockers terming the move â€œbreezing.â€ Exercise rider Steve Willard was in the boot as trainer John Shirreffs looked on. The reigning distaff champion, who has won all 11 of her races, captured the Hirsch last year, setting a track record of 1:41.48 for the mile and one-sixteenth in the process.
Del Mar Stable Notes
Zenyatta sends a message with ‘perfect’ 5-furlong drill
The undefeated reigning filly and mare champion Zenyatta sent a clear message to any prospective foe in next Sunday’s Grade I, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes with a scintillating 5-furlong workout this morning in 1 minute flat.
The work was so smart it got a “breezing” rating from the Del Mar clocking crew.
It also got this response from trainer John Shirreffs, in a word: “Perfect.”
The 5-year-old mare went the five panels in split times of 24 seconds for the quarter-mile, 35.80 for 3 furlongs and 47.80 for the half on the way to her final time. The dark bay daughter of Street Cry, with regular exercise rider Steve Willard up, worked in tandem with stablemate Green Cat, a 4-year-old gelded winner. She started a couple of lengths behind Green Cat and finished approximately four lengths ahead. Green Cat was timed in 1:01.20 handily.
Following the drill, Shirreffs was rhapsodic as he talked of how Zenyatta continues to amaze him with her huge stride. “She has the biggest stride I’ve ever seen,” he said, “and then when she puts her head down she stretches out even more. She’s just a racing machine.”
Regular rider Mike Smith will be aboard for Sunday’s Hirsch.
In other Hirsch Stakes news, brash Barry Abrams was nearly as emphatic following Lethal Heat’s sharp 5 furlongs in 57.80. “It was a very good work. She’s ready for Zenyatta.” Joe Talamo was up for the work and has the call for the Hirsch.
The best work at the distance was put in by Zenyatta stablemate Life Is Sweet, who hung up a 57.60 time under David Flores. Not happy about the swift drill was owner-breeder Martin Wygod, who said he was looking for about 1:01 or 1:02 for his filly. “She’s best when she turns in 12s going 5 furlongs,” he said.
Though distressed by the speedy work, Wygod didn’t discount running in the Hirsch. “It’s not out of the question, but it’s certainly not the way I wanted her to be going into the race.”
Other possible Hirsch starters who worked today: Champagne Eyes, 6 furlongs in 1:14.40 for trainer Doug O’Neill and Anabaa’s Creation, 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 for Julio Canani. O’Neill has committed Champagne Eyes to the Hirsch while Canani says he’ll check on the field before running. Jack Preston of Prestonwood Farm, the owner of Anabaa’s Creation indicated the filly probably would run, though he conceded, “That’s a big hill to climb.”
San diego field pared to eight as filly is scratched
Heavy favorite Well Armed will have one less foe to worry about in today’s 68th running of the Grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Del Mar’s main track.
The 4-year-old filly Allicansayis Wow was scratched this morning, dropping the field size to eight. Well Armed, held at odds of 7-5 on the morning line and carrying high weight of 123 pounds, will be challenged by these seven: Song of Navarone, Informed, Magnum, Mast Track, Temple City, Kelly Leak and Sangaree.
Juveniles will get their days in the del mar sun this week
Ten 2-year-old fillies, headed by a trio of Doug O’Neill trainees, take the spotlight on Friday with the 41st edition of the Grade III, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.
The Sorrento serves as the prime Del Mar prep for the historic, Grade I Darley Debutante, to be run Saturday, September 5 at 7 furlongs on the main track.
The O’Neill trio of Necessary Evil with Joel Rosario, Octogarian with Garrett Gomez and Southern Fireball with Victor Espinoza have put together four victories, with Necessary Evil being unbeaten in two outings. Her most recent effort netted the Grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship against males July 12.
Set to tackle the O’Neill entourage are Laura’s Pleasure, a maiden winner last time out at Hollywood Park; Well Deserved a two-time winner for David Hofmans; Washington Bridge, one for two for Jerry Hollendorfer; Miss Heather Lee, a recent winner for Bob Baffert; Camille C, a winner for Marcello Polanco; and John Glenney’s Go Ask Alex and Eric Guillot’s Mi Sueno, both maidens.
O’Neill said Octogarian is the product of a misspelling of the filly’s name. The filly, owned by J. Paul Reddam, was originally named to honor Reddam’s mother, who in her 80s is an octogenarian.
Sunday’s running of the Best Pal Stakes, also at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track, could feature a Baze family reunion, although at this point, only Michael and Russell Baze are listed on horses committed to the race. Michael is set to ride Classical Slew and Russell will ride the two-for-two Jeff Bonde Northern California shipper Smiling Tiger.
Also considered strong possibilities: Hurricane Ike, trained by John Sadler; Lookin at Lucky, from the Bob Baffert barn, and Zip Quick, trained by Patrick Biancone. Those three are winners.
Field for bing crosby stakes could come up a bit light
Early returns indicate a field of six to eight for Saturday’s 64th running of the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes at 6 furlongs on the main track.
Committed to the race so far are Rush With Thunder for trainer A.C. Avila, Talkin to Mom Roo for Ted H. West and the sensational Zensational for Bob Baffert. Zensational and Rush With Thunder will give the race the 1-2 finishers from Hollywood Park’s Grade I Triple Bend Handicap.
In that race, Zensational, owned by Zayat Stables, led gate-to-wire, holding off Rush With Thunder by one length.
Definitely not running are the Canadian-based Fatal Bullet, runner-up to Midnight Lute in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Sprint who won’t be shipping in; Red Arrow, winner of Hollywood’s Los Angeles Handicap, and Details R Sketchy.
Still to be heard from are Bahama Breeze, trained by Steve Miyadi; the Mike Mitchell-trained Delta Storm; Mel Stute’s Hurry Up Austin and Royal Punisher, a Fusaichi Pegasus gelding who won his debut for trainer David Hofmans.
San clemente may produce a pair of del mar oaks runners
Though he remains undecided at this point, trainer Patrick Gallagher could be getting ready to try for a second straight victory in the Del Mar Oaks following the win Saturday by Starlarks in the Grade II, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at a mile on the turf.
“We’ll consider the race,” Gallagher said this morning as he reported that the 3-year-old filly exited the race in good shape. “She ran hard,” he added, “and that may be coming back a little quickly.”
Definitely heading for the Oaks, to be run Saturday, August 22 at 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course is San Clemente runner-up Strawberry Tart, trainer Jeff Bonde said this morning from his Golden Gate Fields base. “She came out of the race fine and we definitely want to run in the Oaks.”
Head-to-head battle for jockey lead continues at hot pace
Seemingly never wanting to give an inch, Joel Rosario and Tyler Baze continue to battle as if it were the last week of the season not the second.
Example: Baze captured the early daily double Saturday to edge past Rosario at the top by one win. Rosario closed to a tie with his fourth-race victory. Baze went back on top with a win in the seventh, and Rosario countered by winning the late double.
That left the native of the Dominican Republic with a one-victory edge over runner-up Baze, 14-13, after nine days of racing. Since there are 28 racing days left, Del Mar fans probably can expect more of the same.
Not to be lost in the sterling performances of the two leaders is the two wins marked up by 2001 riding champion Alex Solis, including victory in the featured San Clemente Handicap with one of his patented stretch runs aboard Starlarks, winner by a nose.
John Sadler added one win to his leading trainer’s figure of eight. However, Peter Miller takes the cake for being the hottest trainer over the past two days, finishing just a nose away from winning five races in five tries. He was three-for-three Friday and after his Souvenir Slew lost by a nose in the day’s first race came back to win the seventh with Sterling Outlook.