07/14/2010 6:38PM

Concord Point will pass on Swaps


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The $200,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on Saturday lost another stakes-winning contender Wednesday when trainer Bob Baffert opted to pass the race with Concord Point, winner of the Grade 3 Iowa Derby last month.

Earlier in the week, trainer Ron Ellis said that Golden Itiz, winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 19, would skip the race.

Baffert watched Concord Point work three furlongs in 36.40 seconds at Santa Anita on Wednesday but was not thrilled with the style of the workout, the colt’s second since the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 26.

“He didn’t show it to me today,” Baffert said Wednesday morning.

Baffert said he is worried that Concord Point could regress from the Iowa Derby performance if he runs in the Swaps.

“He ran so hard last time,” he said. “He’s still in the bounce mode.”

Baffert said he has no plans for Concord Point but said he could take the colt to Monmouth Park for the $1 million Haskell Invitational there on Aug. 1. The stable already has Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky as a candidate for that race.

“He’ll run when he shows me he’s ready to roll,” he said.

The Grade 2 Swaps Stakes, run over 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds, drew a field of five, but may have only four starters. Sidney’s Candy, winner of the Santa Anita Derby in April, will be a heavy favorite against Skipshot and Alphie’s Bet, who were second and third in the Affirmed; and Summer Movie and Twirling Candy, the winners of optional claiming races earlier this meeting.

Twirling Candy is not a definite starter. Trained by John Sadler for Jenny Craig, Twirling Candy could start in the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes on turf at Del Mar next Wednesday. Craig and Sadler own and train Sidney’s Candy.

“One is definite,” Sadler said of Sidney’s Candy. “The other is, let’s see how the race shapes up.”

O’Neill stable returns to action

Trainer Doug O’Neill’s stable will have its first starters in more than two weeks on Friday.

O’Neill has not had any starters since he began a 15-day suspension for a total carbon dioxide overage on June 30, but his assistant trainer Leandro Mora has entered two horses for Friday.

According to a racing official, the horses listed under Mora’s name are expected to be switched to reflect O’Neill as the trainer before Friday’s races. O’Neill did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

O’Neill’s suspension ends Thursday. In the days before his suspension began, O’Neill said he would not have any runners during his suspension but said his stable would be active when he returned.

The stable’s two starters Friday are Back Nine Doc and Argenta, who are entered in the sixth race, a starter allowance over a mile on turf.

O’Neill was the leading trainer when the suspension began and held that position through Sunday, with 27 wins, four more than Baffert. In addition, O’Neill remains the most active trainer at the meeting, with 151 runners. Sadler is the only other trainer with more than 100 starters, winning 20 races from 104 starters.

Compari rests for Oak Tree meeting

Compari, who finished fifth in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10, will be rested for the remainder of the summer, trainer Marty Jones said Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Compari won three turf stakes at Santa Anita, including the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap on turf in April. In May, Compari was seventh in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on turf here.

Jones said Compari will return to racing during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in the fall, possibly in the California Cup.