08/03/2012 1:34PM

Del Mar: Best Pal a pivotal race for Scherer Magic

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Sunday's Best Pal will help determine whether Scherer Magic will focus on sprints or routes for the rest of his 2-year-old campaign.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The first objective after Scherer Magic won the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 14 was to invest in the gelding’s future.

Owners Gary and Cecil Barber nominated Scherer Magic to the Breeders’ Cup program for $12,000, with the hope that he can start in one of the juvenile races at Santa Anita on Nov. 2-3.

[Complete coverage of racing at Del Mar: News, PPs, and video]

The $150,000 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Sunday may determine what kind of campaign best suits Scherer Magic in coming months – sprints or routes.

Scherer Magic is unbeaten in two starts and will be favored in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes. He will be ridden by the red-hot Joe Talamo, who won five races on Thursday.

[BEST PAL: Watch LIVE on DRF.com, get PPs, read pre-race analysis]

By Doneraile Court, Scherer Magic was claimed for $50,000 from his debut on June 14, the day he won a five-furlong sprint for maidens by an easy 7 1/4 lengths. Trainer John Sadler claimed Scherer Magic after seeing a strong series of works and reading reports on the workouts.

“We went off the works, which we thought we’re good,” Sadler said. “A lot of it is intuition. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I was going with my gut.”

Judging from the way Scherer Magic won his stakes debut in the six-furlong Hollywood Juvenile, the claim could be a bargain. The gelding was fourth early and closed well to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

The patient style of the win, combined with recent workouts conducted in the same fashion, has left Sadler believing that longer races are within Scherer Magic’s range.

“I thought he could be a good sprinter, but when we’ve kept him behind horses he’s showed a new dimension,” he said. “The other day in his work, he worked behind one of mine and another jumped in, and he went well behind horses.

“If the pace is slow, he’ll have a trouble-free trip.”

Scherer Magic is expected to have a pace to follow from Amarish, who won the Willard Proctor Stakes in June but was sixth in the Hollywood Juvenile. The Best Pal has three stakes winners, including the filly Miss Empire, who won the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 16.

Trainer Peter Miller has a strong team of 2-year-old fillies this summer and has entered Miss Empire and the maiden winner Heir Kitty in the Best Pal. Miss Empire is co-owned by the Barbers.

Amarish was 2-5 in the Hollywood Juvenile, but faded in the final furlong after fighting for the lead.

“He wound up on the fence,” trainer Jeff Bonde said. “That week that was not the place to be.”

For the Best Pal Stakes, Amarish has drawn post 6 in a field of eight, giving Bonde more confidence. After the Juvenile Championship, Bonde was reluctant to commit Amarish to the Best Pal. He changed his mind after watching the gelding train in recent weeks.

“He kept his weight well and he seems eager,” Bonde said. “I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think he could win.”