08/25/2006 11:00PM

Add Union Avenue to Del Mar Derby


DEL MAR, Calif. - Union Avenue, the winner of the American Derby at Arlington Park last month, will make his next start in the $400,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, trainer Bill Mott said.

The presence of Union Avenue adds depth to an already strong running of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby. The race over 1 1/8 miles on turf is expected to have the stakes winners Bob and John, Genre, Lightning Hit, Obrigado, and Porto Santo.

Bob and John will be making his turf debut. He won the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct in April before finishing 17th in the Kentucky Derby and eighth in the Belmont Stakes. Genre won the Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in June. Lightning Hit and Obrigado won divisions of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar in July. Porto Santo was a stakes winner in France earlier this year.

Union Avenue has won 3 of 6 starts and $210,870 for WinStar Farms. In the American Derby, Union Avenue pulled a 23-1 upset, winning the Grade 2 race by a half-length after racing near the front throughout.

The race was his first start in a graded stakes and was preceded by a minor stakes win at Colonial Downs in Virginia in June.

"He took a huge move forward last time," Mott said.

Corey Nakatani will ride Union Avenue, acording to Mott.

Hollywood Park barn area opens soon

Hollywood Park, which is in the process of installing a synthetic surface on its main track, is tentatively scheduled to reopen its barn area on Sept. 6 or 7, according to racing secretary Martin Panza.

Panza said the main track could reopen for training Sept. 10. From the time the barn area opens and training begins on the main track, stables would be restricted to exercising horses on the backstretch training track.

The Del Mar meeting ends on Sept. 6. There has been concern among Hollywood Park-based trainers that they would have to remain at Del Mar after the meeting ends. In past years, when Hollywood Park is closed for backstretch renovations during Del Mar, the stable area typically reopens a few days before the conclusion of the Del Mar meeting.

The date when the Hollywood Park backstretch reopens is tentative because the synthetic surface, a material known as Cushion Track, has not arrived from England via boat. The ship recently cleared the Panama Canal and is expected to arrive at the Port of Los Angeles on Thursday, Panza said.

Panza said it is unclear how long it will take to unload the material, ship it to Hollywood Park, and complete the installation.

On Monday, construction crews will begin reinstalling the rail, Panza said.

Simultaneously, Hollywood Park is constructing a six-furlong chute on its turf course. The chute will start on the infield and join the main course on the backstretch.

The track's fall meeting begins on Nov. 1.

Candy Factory impressive in victory

Candy Factory may be on her way to a graded stakes try after winning Friday's $105,905 CTT and TOC Handicap at Del Mar by a convincing five lengths.

Ridden by Jose Valdivia, Candy Factory ($25.40) rallied from last in a field of nine fillies and mares to take the lead in the final furlong. She ran the 1 3/8 miles on turf in 2:12.48, just missing Crazy Ensign's 2003 course record of 2:12.07.

The victory was by far the best performance of Candy Factory's 13-race career, which includes five wins and earnings of $257,377 for Dahlberg Farms.

Sunny Disposition, a 14-1 outsider, finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of Aubonne. Memorette, the even-money favorite, finished sixth, never reaching contention.

Candy Factory will be considered for the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 30, trainer Dan Hendricks said. Hendricks wants to keep Candy Factor in longer races after Friday's victory.

Marques takes over Tommy Town barn

Manuel Marques, a former assistant to trainers Neil Drysdale and Beau Greely, has accepted a position as a private trainer in Southern California for Tom and Debbie Stull's Tommy Town Thoroughbreds.

Marques began training for Tommy Town earlier this week following the resignation of Kevin Lewis. According to Tom Stull, Lewis decided to return to Phoenix where he will have a stable at Turf Paradise.

Marques, 37, had his first starter on Saturday. He will oversee a 25-horse stable that consists of horses bred by Tommy Town, which has a stallion farm in Santa Ynez, Calif.

Stull said that Tommy Town has 25 horses "waiting to come in" from the farm. The stable could expand from its current number when it returns to the Los Angeles-area tracks in a few weeks.

Marques was an assistant to Greely for 5 1/2 years. He left that position in June of this year, and worked briefly for Drysdale before the current position became available earlier this month.

A native of Portugal, Marques was a private trainer in France in the 1990's before moving to the United States.

Jockey updates

Jockey Martin Garcia, second in the Del Mar standings through Friday, has been given a five-day suspension for careless riding on Thursday. He has amassed 25 suspension days for five penalties for careless riding at this meeting.

In the latest decision, Garcia was cited for crossing over without sufficient clearance aboard River Rebel, who finished seventh in Thursday's sixth race. The suspension covers racing days from Friday through Sept. 6, the closing day of the meeting.

Garcia has appealed the first four penalties, covering 20 racing days. Three of the cases were scheduled to be heard on Sunday.

An apprentice jockey, Garcia, 19, will ride at Golden Gate Fields in September and not at Fairplex Park, according to his agent, Roger Olguin. Garcia is scheduled to return to Southern California for the start of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 27.