Updated on 09/17/2011 10:58PM

Buzzards Bay tries turf in split Sir Beaufort


ARCADIA, Calif. - It's an annual tradition that Del Mar's opening-day grass stakes, the Oceanside, is split into two divisions. A new tradition might be starting at Santa Anita. Without any grass racing at Hollywood Park the past seven weeks, trainers of grass runners were so eager to get going at Santa Anita on opening day Monday that 19 3-year-olds were entered in the Sir Beaufort Stakes, causing the one-mile turf race to be split into a pair of $75,000-added divisions.

In the first leg, which goes as the second race, Santa Anita Derby winner .

In the second division, which goes as the seventh race, Oak Tree Derby runner-up and European invader Ticafic.

Like many of these horses, Eastern Sand was ticketed to the Hollywood Derby. But when that race was scrapped, trainer Jeff Mullins sent Eastern Sand to Golden Gate, where he won last month's Silky Sullivan Handicap. That was Eastern Sand's second win in nine starts this year. He has been second in all four of his starts at Santa Anita.

"He doesn't break through a lot, but he's always right there," Mullins said Friday morning.

Tedo ran strongly in the Del Mar Derby in his first start in this country, but then regressed and finished last of seven in the Oak Tree Derby.

"He needed a vacation," said his trainer, Doug O'Neill.

Cosmomaut has finished first or second in all four of his grass races. This will be his first start in California and for trainer Patrick Biancone.

"He's a very nice horse. A lovely horse," Biancone said. "He seems to like it here."

Cosmonaut outran two workmates in a team drill on the turf on Wednesday.

Ticafic was a listed stakes winner in France, where he won 3 of his last 4 starts. His trainer, Mike Machowsky, was on the fence regarding entering, but decided to go when he learned that the Sir Beaufort would split into two divisions.

"He's probably a touch short, but he's worked so good on the grass, and you can usually run a short horse on the grass and they'll still run well," Machowsky said. "He came in last May, and we thought he might be a Breeders' Cup Mile-type of horse, but he got sore behind. We did a nuclear scan, and his cannon bones lit up, so we put him away."

In the first division, Buzzards Bay will have to overcome the outside post in a field of nine. In his first start for Ellis, Buzzards Bay finished third in Belmont Park's Discovery Handicap to Magna Graduate, who subsequently won the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Becrux might be the one to catch. He led from start to finish in a division of the Oceanside Stakes in July, then lost his best chance in the Del Mar Derby when he broke poorly and was caught in traffic on the final turn.

Chinese Dragon won four straight starts earlier this year after arriving from Ireland, then was upset in the Paradise Valley Handicap at Turf Paradise last month. That was his first start in six months, so he has a right to move forward off that race.

Brecon Beacon was third in the Oak Tree Derby in his lone start in this country. "I might have been tempted to run him in the Hollywood Derby, but I think he probably benefited from a forced vacation," said his trainer, O'Neill.

Cal Breeders': Da Stoops to conquer

Da Stoops, who most recently finished second to Your Tent or Mine in the Hollywood Prevue, looms a short-priced favorite against six rival California-breds in the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes, the third race on Monday.

The Cal Breeders', like the Prevue, is at seven furlongs. Those trying to upset the speedy Da Stoops include Brite Maneuvers, who won the California Cup Juvenile, and Direct Connect, who finished second in the Cal Cup before being disqualified for interference.