09/29/2010 3:22PM

Crowded House has Cup spot on line


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Crowded House will have to earn his way into a Breeders’ Cup race at Churchill Downs this fall. Owner Paul Reddam and trainer Ben Cecil will know the colt’s status after Saturday’s $250,000 Goodwood Stakes at Hollywood Park.

A win or a sharp performance in the Grade 1 Goodwood over 1 1/8 miles could lead to a start in the BC Classic or Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6. A bad loss will lead to a vacation, Cecil said on Wednesday.

“I think this race will decide,” Cecil said. “He’d have to be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup. We could go in the [Dirt] Mile or the Classic. The Mile would be easier. He has to run well to warrant it.”

Crowded House has had a busy campaign since arriving from England in July, with starts in three Grade 1 races. A 4-year-old colt, Crowded House was fourth in the Eddie Read Stakes on turf at Del Mar on July 24; second, by three-quarters of a length, to Goodwood probable Richard’s Kid in the Pacific Classic on Polytrack on Aug. 28; and fourth in the Woodbine Mile on turf in Canada on Sept. 19.

Crowded House has made nine starts this year. Earlier this year, when trained by Brian Meehan, Crowded House was second in a Group 3 stakes in Dubai and ninth in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March.

“He’s had a long, hard year,” Cecil said. “If enough is enough, we’ll give him a break and get ready for next year.”

Crowded House was a Group 1 winner in England as a 2-year-old in 2008, in the one-mile Racing Post Trophy, his most recent career win.

The Goodwood will provide a stern test. Aside from Richard’s Kid, the list of candidates includes Hollywood Gold Cup winner Awesome Gem as well as Crown of Thorns, Dakota Phone, Informed, and Twirling Candy.

Switch sticking close to home

Switch, the winner of two stakes for 3-year-old fillies this year, will take on Zenyatta in Saturday’s $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes. Well, at the least they’ll be in the same starting gate.

Zenyatta will be an overwhelming favorite in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret, seeking to extend her unbeaten streak to 19 races. Switch will be an outsider, starting in the toughest race of her career, but her appearance in the race is part of an autumn plan owners Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable and trainer John Sadler.

They want to prepare Switch for a start in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 and have opted for the Lady’s Secret Stakes instead of a trip to Hoosier Park this weekend for the Indiana Oaks.

“We don’t want to ship twice,” Sadler said. “I think she’ll have a good chance in the [Filly and Mare Sprint]. We think that will be a good fit and we want to get one more race into her.”

Switch won the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 5 as the odds-on favorite, her first start after finishing a troubled fifth in the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes on turf in July. Earlier this year, Switch won the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks.

The Lady’s Secret is expected to draw a field of six, including Emmy Darling, Moon de French, Rinterval, and Satans Quick Chick, who was supplemented for $4,500 on Wednesday. Rinterval was second to Zenyatta in the Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 7, the last start for both.

Zenyatta, who galloped strongly on Wednesday morning, is seeking her third consecutive win in the Lady’s Secret.

Bejarano bloodied but unbowed

Jockey Rafael Bejarano is sporting a couple black eyes, and a bandage over his nose, the result of having his nose rebroken and reset two weeks ago. Bejarano first broke his nose in July 2009 in an accident at Del Mar, then tweaked it in an accident there this past summer.

“I feel 100 percent now,” Bejarano said Wednesday morning at Hollywood Park. “Before, I could only breathe 50 percent.”

Bejarano said he did not break his nose in the most recent spill, but banged it up enough that he decided to go ahead and have surgery.

When he first returned from the 2009 accident, Bejarano wore a clear plastic mask, much like Rip Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association. But Bejarano said he will need the mask this time.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman