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Big Fresno Fair looking for big finish with Bulldog
By Chuck Dybdal
With 16 runners nominated for Sunday’s closing-day $75,000 Bulldog, racing secretary Tom Doutrich is hopeful that the Big Fresno Fair will wind up its two-week meet with a bang.
“We only had five in the Charlie Palmer” – last Saturday’s $75,000 one-mile stakes for 2-year-olds – “but I wasn’t surprised, because I really had to hustle for entries,” Doutrich said. “They only had five in a $100,000 stakes” – the six-furlong Tim Conway – “at Santa Anita the same day.
“With a 2-year-old race, one year you may have five and the next year you may have 10, but we’ve established this is a race trainers can point to.”
Doutrich is expecting at least eight older runners for the Bulldog, including graded stakes winner Dynamic Host from trainer Art Sherman’s barn. The 1 1/8-mile distance might be a little short for the marathoner who won the 1 1/2-mile Grade 3 Tokyo City this spring and will make his first start since Aug. 25.
“Fresno’s my old stomping grounds,” Sherman said. “It’s always kinda fun. I’ve enjoyed some good times there.”
Sherman said the 6-year-old Dynamic Host is “doing really well, and he loves a dirt track. He’s one-dimensional, but he kicks it in the last three-eighths.”
Sherman also is encouraged because Russell Baze will ride the gelding.
Doutrich has three season-ending starter allowance races with $30,000 purses for $8,000 claimers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday, fillies and mares will sprint six furlongs, with an open six-furlong race Saturday, and a 1 1/4-mile race Sunday that should have good-sized fields.
He also is running a first-level allowance race Friday.
“Getting allowance races to go is important, because it can attract trainers who might otherwise stay at Golden Gate to come here,” he said. “And when they ship an allowance horse, they bring other horses with them.
“We will run better races whenever we can. We all want big fields, but we have to be aware of maintaining the quality of our product by giving our better horses a chance to run.”
Fury Kapcori handles distance
Five 2-year-olds made their one-mile debuts in the Charlie Palmer, which was won by even-money favorite Fury Kapcori, a $100,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase.
A son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Fury Kapcori won for the second time in three starts and earned a career-best 71 Beyer Speed Figure for his 1 3/4-length victory in 1:37.63 over Condiment.
Coming off a wire-to-wire, six-length maiden victory, Fury Kapcori sat confidently behind multiple stakes winner Anytime Magic through the opening six furlongs and quickly put that one away before holding off Condiment.
It was a good step forward for the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee.
But it also was a good race for Condiment, owned by trainer Joe Brook and Evelyn Negri. Negri’s late husband, Joe, bred the Peppered Cat gelding with Brook.
“He’s always trying,” said Brook, who saw his budding star run second to Anytime Magic in his debut in the Cavonnier at Santa Rosa.
“I think he’ll be a better route horse, and he should be a really good grass horse. His sire is a good grass sire, and he has that kind of stride that goes well on the turf.”
Condiment means a lot both to Brook and to Evelyn Negri.
“We had his dam [named Evelyn Negri] and grandmother [Tea and Talk], too, so this is three generations,” Brook said.
“Joe passed away last year, but he had this horse at his farm. He always liked this horse. He said he was the fastest baby he’d seen.”
Stockton meet ends with declines
Running eight days instead of four in late September instead of its traditional June dates, the San Joaquin Fair in Stockton showed a significant dip in daily handle.
Knowing last year that it would have new dates in 2012, the fair offered free admission and saw a huge jump in its handle. Despite running four days in 2011, Stockton showed a 16 percent increase in overall handle compared to the five-day 2010 meet.
The 2012 decline was as dramatic as 2011’s increase. Though the final totals were higher, daily ontrack wagering declined 39.2 percent, with $130,312 wagered in 2012 compared with $214,386 in 2011. The daily all-sources handle declined 32.3 percent from $1,099,797 in 2011 to $744,324 in 2012.
Comparisons, though, really don’t mean much because of the major switch in dates. In June 2011, Stockton had new barns from Arizona that were ready to run. This year, most Arizona-based horses had already returned home, and the annual influx of runners from Emerald Downs hadn’t really begun.
Two additional weekday dates did not help daily totals either, and the two-week meet didn’t generate the urgency of 2011’s one-week meet.
Mason sending pair for Cal Cup
Trainer Lloyd Mason “feels good” about the chances of Shudacudawudya and Bleach Blonde, who are now at Santa Anita for Saturday’s Cal Cup races.
Shudacudawudya brings a two-race win streak and two bullet works into the $100,000 Cal Cup Sprint at six furlongs. He won the five-furlong Jess Jackson Owners’ Handicap on the turf at Santa Rosa and won a six-furlong allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on Sept. 3.
Since then, he has a best-of-57, 59.80-second five-furlong work on Sept. 22 and a best-of-14, 46.80 half-mile drill on Oct. 3.
Bleach Blonde won a six-furlong allowance race at Golden Gate on Sept. 8, then rallied later for third in the Harvest Stakes at Stockton on Sept. 22. She will run in the $125,000 Distaff at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf.
“We’ll walk them one day and jog them one day and take them over to the saddling area,” Mason said. “They’re pretty professional. Shudacudawudya is laid-back. The filly’s a little more high strung but is no problem.”
Mason said both are sharp and in good shape.
“They don’t cheat. They always give 100 percent,” he said.
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