Updated on 09/15/2011 12:38PM

Chapman says Caller One won't back out


DEL MAR, Calif. - Trying to judge trainer Jim Chapman's plans with Caller One has been something of a poker game this year for racing secretaries, jockey agents, and handicappers.

Caller One, who won the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March, is expected to start in Sunday's $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar against Kona Gold, the 2000 champion sprinter.

Such a matchup is a mouthwatering confrontation for racing fans, a preview of the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park in October.

Even though Chapman said Wednesday that the 4-year-old Caller One is a starter, there is backstretch doubt that Caller One will start.

Last month, Chapman said Caller One would start in the Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park. Caller One entered that race and was the 7-5 morning-line favorite, but was scratched after Chapman said he was unhappy with the weight assignments.

For the Bing Crosby, Kona Gold, who has not started since winning the Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita on April 1, is the 126-pound highweight, carrying two pounds more than Caller One. The Bing Crosby will be their first meeting since the Breeders' Cup last November at Churchill Downs, when Kona Gold and Caller One were first and fourth, respectively.

"I'll run him," Chapman said of Caller One on Wednesday. "He shows up every time. He'll run the same race. He'll run good. The Dubai race was pretty good. It had 16 in it. I don't think there will be that many in here."

Before the Triple Bend, there were conversations about a potential match race between Caller One and Kona Gold for this first weekend of the Del Mar meeting. It failed, due to, among other reasons, a lack of a sponsor and a purse supplement. But the match race will essentially occur if both start in the Bing Crosby.

As of Wednesday, there was only one other definite starter, Swept Overboard, who won the Kerlan Handicap on turf at Hollywood Park on June 23. Other nominees were ducking the top two, or running in an allowance race on Saturday.

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Big Jag still recuperating in Dubai

The California sprint division is missing Big Jag, the former arch-rival to Kona Gold who was seriously injured in March while preparing for the Golden Shaheen.

Four months after the injury occurred, Big Jag is still in Dubai, but will return to the United States later this year, trainer Tim Pinfield said.

"He's in pretty good shape," Pinfield said. "The X-rays over the last three or four months have improved."

Pinfield said Big Jag remains confined to a stall at a clinic in Dubai, but has better mobility. He is tentatively scheduled to travel to England in September for a brief stay before returning to the U.S. Pinfield said he would prefer that Big Jag not travel straight to the U.S., a trip that requires a two-day layover in Amsterdam.

There is no hope for a return to racing for the gelding who finished third in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint. "He should be able to have a good life," Pinfield said. "He'll be ridable, to a point."

Two-horse spill on opening day

Jockey Brice Blanc was taken to Scripps Hospital in La Jolla for precautionary X-rays on Wednesday after being kicked in the lower back in a two-horse spill in the second race.

Blanc's mount, Gin Running, and Walts Wharf, ridden by Tyler Baze, were involved in the spill. Walts Wharf fell after clipping heels with pacesetter Coiner in early stretch of an allowance race. Blanc was kicked by Gin Running after he fell from his mount, who was unable to avoid Walts Wharf.

Baze was not hurt and walked off the track on his own. Both horses did not appear injured.

McCarron registers hole-in-one

Chris McCarron had a memorable start to the Del Mar meeting even before the racing season began Wednesday. Tuesday, McCarron scored the second hole-in-one of his golf career at The Meadows at Del Mar, near the racetrack.

McCarron's milestone was witnessed by fellow jockeys Danny Sorenson and Alex Solis and horse owner Ed Giammarino.

"It was a 170-yard par 3, McCarron said. "I hit an 8-iron. Just kidding, I hit a five-iron. It saw it go in. It felt good when I hit it. It felt sweet."

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