Updated on 09/16/2011 7:55AM

Bailey, Valenzuela to ride turf stars


DEL MAR, Calif. - Beat Hollow and Golden Apples will have new jockeys when they start in major turf stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 17, their respective trainers confirmed on Thursday.

Beat Hollow will be ridden by Jerry Bailey in the Arlington Million, trainer Bobby Frankel said. Bailey replaces Alex Solis, who rode Beat Hollow in two Grade 1 wins earlier this year - the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and Manhattan Handicap - and to an unlucky second in the Eddie Read Handicap last Sunday.

Patrick Valenzuela will ride Golden Apples in the $700,000 Beverly D Stakes, trainer Ben Cecil said. Garrett Gomez had been aboard Golden Apples for all seven of her United States starts, including a second in the Grade 1 Ramona Handicap last weekend at Del Mar.

The Arlington races will be the first time that Bailey and Valenzuela have ridden their respective mounts.

Golden Apples is owned by Gary Tanaka, who will be represented by Eddie Read Handicap winner Sarafan in the Arlington Million.

Gomez was aboard Golden Apples for three graded stakes wins over the last year. He rode Golden Apples to a second in the Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita in April before Golden Apples went to the sidelines with a throat infection.

"Mr. Tanaka wanted to change his luck," Cecil said of the decision. "The race was a difference of a neck the other day. She was a victim of circumstances in her last two races. There was no pace. I feel bad for Garrett."

Insurance fix imminent

An insurance company is expected to offer workmen's compensation policies to California horsemen by Sept. 1, ending a six-month period in which trainers have been forced to pay higher rates through a government-backed insurance program.

Ed Halpern, the executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, said on Wednesday that an insurance company made a formal proposal to racing officials on Tuesday. He said the agreement could be signed by Friday.

Since March, trainers have been forced to buy insurance from the government-backed State Fund, which offers higher rates than the private insurance company that left the market in February.

Halpern on Wednesday told a group of horsemen meeting at a local hotel that rates would likely be cut in half from current prices. He said the new insurance company, which he did not name, would have rates ranging from $31 to $38 per $100 of payroll, with discounts available that could cut the price to the high teens. Trainers also pay workmen's compensation for jockeys in races.

"If everything goes as planned, it should be in place by Sept. 1," Halpern said.

Azeri rates in work

, the top older female on the West Coast, worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 on Thursday under jockey Mike Smith at the San Luis Rey Downs training center.

The workout was her last major exercise before the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 11, when she will try for her fifth consecutive stakes win.

Trainer Laura de Seroux said Azeri was held up behind a workmate for a half-mile in the work. Azeri won on the lead in her last two races, the Vanity and Milady handicaps at Hollywood Park.

"I wanted to make sure she remembers how to rate," De Seroux said. "She was perfect. I am thinking more for the Breeders' Cup, a full field with plenty of pace."

There will not be a large field for the Hirsch. Irguns Angel, Ador-ation, Mind for Gold, and Starrer are possibles.

Baffert threepeats

Trainer Bob Baffert on Wednesday continued his a stranglehold on the $125,000 Grad-uation Stakes, winning the sprint for California-bred 2-year-olds for the third straight year. Icecoldbeeratreds led throughout and won by 3 1/2 lengths.

The time of 1:03.27 set a stakes record, but the race has been run over 5 1/2 furlongs for only the last three of 51 runnings. It had previously been run over six furlongs.

Icecoldbeeratreds, who paid $6.60, join Arabian Light (2000) and Officer (2001) as Baffert-trained winners of the Graduation.

Ridden by David Flores, Icecoldbeeratreds was never threatened. He led by 1 1/2 lengths through fractions of 21.97 and 44.93 seconds and pulled away in the final furlong.

Jury Box, the 6-5 favorite, was second throughout after a troubled start and finished three lengths in front of Expression in the field of nine.

Icecoldbeeratreds was making his first start since winning a maiden special weight for California-breds at Hollywood Park April 27. Sore shins had kept him on the sidelines since that race, Baffert said.

Baffert feared that Icecoldbeeratreds would be short on conditioning, and said he adjusted his strategy accordingly.

"I told David to send him away from there," Baffert said. "When they're short, it's better to let them roll out of there."

Kona Queen seeks upset

Kona Queen carries a three-race winning streak into Saturday's $64,000 Fantastic Girl Stakes, the field for which includes four stakes winners. Kona Queen is capable of pulling an upset, her trainer, Peter Eurton, said.

The 4-year-old Kona Queen was claimed for $40,000 last October and has since won two allowance races. They came seven months apart because of a knee injury. Her six-furlong win on June 26 at Hollywood Park left Eurton convinced she deserved a shot at the Fantastic Girl Stakes, run over six furlongs.

"She showed a lot of heart in her last race," Eurton said. "But I don't know if she's as good on this track as she was at Hollywood."

Madame Pietra, the winner of the Soviet Problem Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on March 23, may go favored in her comeback. Other stakes winners in the field of seven are Fancee Bargain, Cinnful Bride, and Netherland.