08/20/2011 7:48AM

Del Mar: Amazombie to skip O'Brien, wait for Ancient Title


Amazombie, the winner of the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes at Santa Anita this year, is a notable absentee from the nominations for next Sunday’s $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes.

Trainer Bill Spawr said that Amazombie will skip the race in favor of a start in the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes at the Santa Anita autumn meeting on Oct. 8. Amazombie was third in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes over six furlongs on July 31. The Ancient Title is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program, offering a fees-paid berth to the winner for the BC Sprint at Churchill Downs in November.

“If we get lucky we’ll win that, otherwise we couldn’t afford” the BC Sprint nomination, Spawr said. “He will have nine weeks between races. We’ll be hoping for a top performance that way.”

The Grade 1 Pat O’Brien over seven furlongs is led by Smiling Tiger, the winner of three sprint stakes this year and the runner-up in the Bing Crosby Stakes. Euroears is nominated but trainer Bob Baffert said earlier this week that he wants to keep the 7-year-old horse in six-furlong races.

Caracortado to run Sunday but not in Pacific Classic

The Pat O’Brien field may include Caracortado, the winner of the Sunshine Million Turf in January who is doubtful for the $1 million Pacific Classic next Sunday.

Trainer Mike Machowsky said that Caracortado will be entered for Saturday’s $200,000 Del Mar Mile on turf and the Pat O’Brien. Machowsky said one factor in skipping the Pacific Classic is the $15,000 in entry and starting fees, compared to $3,000 for the Del Mar Mile and $3,750 for the Pat O’Brien.

“I look at the Pacific Classic, and it’s not a cheap race to run in,” he said. “If you don’t finish 1-2-3, it’s not a worthy proposition. I know he likes the mile and I know he likes seven-eighths.”

The Del Mar Mile field is expected to include Courageous Cat, the winner of the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on turf at Hollywood Park on July 2. Caracortado was second to Courageous Cat in the Shoemaker Mile and returned to finish third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes on turf here on July 23.