07/18/2012 3:09PM

Del Mar: Best Pal, Del Mar Futurity next-race options for Amarish


Trainer Jeff Bonde had a rough finish to the Hollywood Park meeting.

Last Saturday, Bonde had contenders in three major stakes, but no success. Amarish was sixth in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile, the same position that Izzy Rules finished in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap. Unusual Way finished eighth in the Landaluce Stakes after setting the early pace.

All three emerged from those losses without incident, and are expected to start at Del Mar. As of Wednesday, it was unclear whether Amarish would start in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 5 or wait for the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5.

“It’s a long year,” Bonde said. “We don’t want to over-race him. He came out of the race fine.”

Friday, Bonde hopes to have a winner in Seventh Avenue, in an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds. Seventh Avenue was second in a similar race on turf at Hollywood Park on June 28. In Friday’s race, Seventh Avenue will be ridden by Bejarano, the leading rider at Hollywood Park.

A win could lead to a start in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 11.

“He’ll need to run impressively,” Bonde said. “He’s never been in a spot with a legitimate pace. Last time, the winner had something left.”
On June 28, Seventh Avenue was beaten a length by pacesetter My Best Brother, who was entered for a division of Wednesday’s Oceanside Stakes.

Friday, Seventh Avenue’s main rivals are the three-time winner Distort This, a shipper from Churchill Downs, and Ransom Canyon, a troubled fourth in an allowance race over a mile on turf on June 17.

Few willing to face Acclamation

Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, will have four rivals when he attempts to defend his title in Saturday’s $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Those entered against him are Casino Host, Hog’s Hollow, Interaction, and Slim Shadey.

Acclamation, who will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, will be a heavy favorite to win his second start of 2012. He opened his season with a convincing win in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 9.

The Factor, Contested breeze

Baffert had two other major stakes winners work on Wednesday – The Factor and Contested.

The Factor worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds, the fastest of 47 recorded works at the distance. Second in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 30, The Factor will start in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes over six furlongs on July 29.

Baffert said that Martin Garcia will ride The Factor. The trainer and the jockey had a falling out in May, but have recently worked together in the mornings. Garcia has ridden The Factor to all five of his stakes wins.

Contested won the Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park earlier this year, but was fifth in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 23.

Owned by Baffert’s wife, Jill, Contested worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on Wednesday. Contested will be pointed for the $500,000 Test Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 25.