08/05/2008 12:00AM

Black Mamba's owner may get out wallet

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Win. You're In. Oh, by the way, you've still got to pay.

That's the story arc for owner Richard Templer, whose Black Mamba won the John Mabee Handicap on Sunday, thus giving her an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita. Black Mamba, who was bred in New Zealand, was not an original nominee to the Breeders' Cup program, so in order for her to run in the Filly and Mare Turf, Templer would have to pony up 15 percent of the race's $2 million purse, some $300,000.

He said he's prepared to do it.

"It's something I've discussed with John," Templer said while standing next to his trainer, John Sadler. "And our feeling is, if she can win, we'd pay the supplement. She's getting better all the time. These are problems you want to have."

Templer, who races as Doubledown Stables, and Sadler said that Black Mamba would have one race between now and the Breeders' Cup, the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Sept. 27. Black Mamba was third in last year's Yellow Ribbon, beaten less than one length by Nashoba's Key and Citronnade.

"There's no other choice," Sadler said. "The nice thing for us with this year's Breeders' Cup is that we're at home."

Black Mamba has finished in the money in all 10 of her starts since arriving from New Zealand, but not until she won the Mabee had she strung together consecutive victories. She won the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 29.

The Mabee was the first Grade 1 win for Black Mamba and Templer, who has six horses with Sadler.

Gate malfunction causes refunds

Some $279,163 in wagers were refunded to bettors on Monday when stewards ruled Filter was a non-starter in the seventh race because her gate failed to open at the same time as her six rivals in the six-furlong race.

Randy Winick, who along with Scott Chaney and Tom Ward are Del Mar's stewards, said he noticed the malfunction soon after the race ended when reviewing a slow-motion replay of the start.

"I saw that it was uneven with the rest of the field," Winick said. "The slow-motion really magnified it."

After a brief inquiry following the race, the stewards declared that Filter, who finished fifth in the seven-horse field, would be scratched for wagering purposes, but would earn purse money.

"We believe they all should start at the same time," Chaney deadpanned.

According to Ward, jockey Corey Nakatani said Filter pushed open her gate after her rivals left. The stall doors did not open when the latch was sprung, Ward said.

All win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and quinella wagers involving Filter were refunded. There was a consolation paid in the pick three. In the daily double, a consolation was paid for races 6-7, while a refund was ordered for daily double wagers that began with Filter in the seventh race.

In the pick four and pick six, bets on Filter in which no alternate was selected were automatically shifted to the favorite, Inspiration Within, who won the race.

She was 5-2 when the race went off, but was 9-5 after the scratch of Filter, who was 3-1 when the race ended.

The gate was tested before the final race and was found to be working properly, and that race went off without a problem.

"Right now, we don't know what caused it to malfunction," Chaney said.

Moral Compass tunes up

Moral Compass, beaten a nose in a division of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day, July 16, will try to avenge that loss on Saturday in the Grade 2, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-old grass runners. He completed his serious training for that race with a half-mile work in 48.80 seconds on the Polytrack on Tuesday morning.

"He caught some company in the work and wanted to go a little faster than we wanted, so we didn't let him run by the other horse," Jack Carava, who trains Moral Compass, said Tuesday morning. "It was either that or work in 47 seconds four days before a race, and we didn't want that."

The La Jolla should have a large field. In addition to Moral Compass, those expected to enter are Coronel Moldes, Jungle Wave, Leonides, Liberian Freighter, Madeo, Nownownow, Sky Cape, Tangled Tango, Tiz West, Yankee Bravo, and Zetterberg.

Leonides (48.20 seconds) and Zetterberg (47.20) also worked a half-mile on the main track on Tuesday.

Bold Chieftain to aim high

Bold Chieftain, who scored his 11th win in 20 starts in the California Dreamin' Handicap on Saturday against California-breds, will leave his comfort zone and take on graded stakes company next time in the Grade 2, $400,000 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 24, according to Bill Morey Jr., who trains and co-owns Bold Chieftain.

"We know it's a big step up, but maybe he deserves the chance," Morey said. "We're also looking at the Longacres Mile, but that comes up before, and he'd have to get in an airplane. We're here."

The win in the California Dreamin' was the fifth in seven grass races for Bold Chieftain. He was second on turf in the 2006 Bay Meadows Derby to Proudinsky.

Morey also is a co-breeder of Bold Chieftain, who has earned more than $700,000.

"These horses are home runs," Morey said. "You get the Cal-bred owners' premium, breeders' premium, and I get the 10 percent trainer's commission."

Plans uncertain for Mr. Wolverine

Mr. Wolverine was expected to be the strongest rival for Bold Chieftain on Saturday, but he stopped badly and finished last in the field of four under jockey Michael Baze.

Mr. Wolverine has had a history of tendon problems, but his trainer, Jorge Gutierrez, said he did not aggravate a tendon in the California Dreamin'.

"He might have been a little short," Gutierrez said. "Maybe he was too far back and lost interest. That's what Michael thought. When he was struggling, when he didn't dig in, Mike didn't press the issue.

"We took X-rays, and they were clean. We'll take a couple of days to decide whether to go on, or give him some time off."

Mr. Wolverine, 6, has raced just 13 times. He won the Khaled Stakes at Hollywood Park in April, then was fourth in the Grade 1 Whittingham Handicap on June 7. Between that race and the California Dreamin', he had just two workouts.

Emotional victories for Spawr and Craig

Owner Jenny Craig and trainer Bill Spawr won a pair of races last week, their first since the death of Jenny's husband, Sid. Del Mar holds special meaning for the Craigs. They live near here, and were regulars both for live racing and off-season simulcasting.

When Topper Shopper won the second race on Sunday, Spawr said, "It was very emotional."

"We were saying, 'Sid probably wheeled him in the double.' He was known to make a wager or two," Spawr said. "Jenny was here with her family. She wasn't crying. She was happy."

Spawr said Topper Shopper was claimed in May by Sid Craig with the idea of pointing for Del Mar, since Topper Shopper had won both his starts here last summer. "Sid told Jenny, 'This one's for you at Del Mar.' But maybe," Spawr said, joking, "he claimed the horse because Jenny's a good shopper."

* Coronet of a Baron tuned up for the Grade 2, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds on Sunday with a five-furlong drill in 58.60 seconds on Tuesday. The time was the best of 30 at the distance. On the original published work tab, Coronet of a Baron had his time transposed with that of Arabian Cheetah, another Eoin Harty trainee who worked in 1:04.20.

* Well Armed and Surf Cat, the one-two finishers in last month's San Diego Handicap, both worked on Tuesday in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24. Well Armed breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60, while Surf Cat traveled one mile in 1:39.60.

* After three weeks of the meet, Rafael Bejarano continues to lead the jockey standings with 22 wins, six more than Tyler Baze and Joel Rosario. Sadler, with 14 wins, has opened a six-win margin in the trainer standings over Jerry Hollendorfer, Doug O'Neill, and Mike Mitchell.