News and Notes July 28 – by Rod Young Turfdom

There are two weeks in the books at Del Mar with six to go, and finding winners at this Oceanside
track are becoming increasingly difficult. They installed a new dirt surface this year, and though it
has the same ingredients as the Santa Anita track, they are totally different. It might be that Del Mar
sits on the ocean and that Santa Anita is so far inland, but whatever it is, they are different. The first
two days of the meet the track played “fair.” The times were slow and the track was deep and tiring,
but there was no bias. Then the rains came over the weekend and the track never did dry out on the
inside. Coming into Sunday, the inside was dead, and jockeys were steering their mounts off the rail,
even when they were on the lead. The rail post at six furlongs was 0/34 and it was not the place to be.
When handicapping, you just threw out the one horse in sprints. That all changed on Sunday as 3
winners went wire to wire from the rail. Now the two year old Songbird made some sense, as this
filly is a star in the making and just outclassed her field, but the other two were upsets at $22.20 and
$10.80. So much for the “dead” rail. At least you could count on the turf course, where closers were
having their way in two turn races. Then came Sunday. They had 3 one mile races on the grass and
the winner went wire to wire in every one of them. So much for the closers bias on the turf. All the
players/handicappers were having a tough time, and the pick six was carried over TWICE in the
same week. Going into Wednesday, the two day c/o is $562,765 and should hit $2.5 million. The
Super High Five is also c/o to the tune of $25,486. And the “suits” who manage this place just love it.
Nothing improves the handle more in Southern California than a pick six c/o, and if it’s a double c/o,
all the better. Odds on favorites have won just once in six tries at the meet.
• They ran the San Diego Handicap on Saturday, a Grade 2 prep for the Pacific Classic in late August,
and they had some “stars” show up. But the race was sort of “ugly.” Bayern, who won the Breeders
Cup Classic last year was the favorite. But he never got a breather from Appealing Tale and never
really handled the track. He finished third and the improving Catch a Flight got the money at $8.40,
but he was life and death to catch “Tale” in the final jump. The time was slow and it looked like they
were all staggering to the wire. Appealing Tale was the most impressive, but he is not a mile and a
quarter horse and will target the 7 furlong Pat O’Brien on August 22 for his next start, and he will be
tough in there. The Pacific Classic looks like it’s prime picking for an Eastern shipper this year.
They ran the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at six furlongs on the main track Sunday and Masochistic, who is
the best sprinter on the West Coast was bet to 2 to 5. He had a perfect trip sitting behind a fast pace,
took the lead at the head of the stretch, and looked like an easy winner. But Hollendorfer’s Wild
Dude got to him late at $24.60 and Masochistic had to settle for second. I don’t know if it was the
“tiring” track that got to the favorite or if trainer Ron Ellis ran him back too soon, but Masochistic is
the better sprinter. If they meet in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in September, Masochistic
will prevail.
• This week they run the Clement L. Hirsch, a Grade 1 for fillies/mares on the main track Saturday
and Beholder will be the heavy favorite. Six will challenge her with the main contenders being
Warren’s Veneda, Sam’s Sister, and the 3 year old, Stellar Wind. Bob Baffert’s Gimme Da Lute
heads up Sunday’s feature at 7 furlongs on the main track for Cal breds with a $200,000 pot.
American Pharoah will run in the Haskell this Sunday in New Jersey and will have only 5
competitors.
• Some rules make no sense in racing and the over whipping of a horse down the stretch by a jockey is
one of them. The racing office is handing out fines daily to the riders for whip violations in the range
of $200/$300. But it won’t change, as it is more important for a rider to win a race than to pay a
$200 fine. Once again, the California Horse Racing Board doesn’t have a clue about how to operate
racing in this State. And as Sonny and Cher used to say, “The Beat Goes On.”

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