08/29/2013 1:57PM

Del Mar: Clubhouse Ride feeling good for Brubaker

Benoit & Associates
Clubhouse Ride, winning the Grade 2 Californian, came out of the San Diego Handicap sick but has recovered.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Clubhouse Ride has had more blood tests than workouts in the last six weeks.

Since finishing sixth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 27 and emerging from the race with elevated white and red blood counts, Clubhouse Ride has been nursed back to health by trainer Craig Lewis and his team.

Lewis is confident enough in Clubhouse Ride’s recovery to start the 5-year-old in Saturday’s $90,000 Brubaker Stakes over a mile at Del Mar. It is not the late August stakes that Lewis and owners Six-S Racing Stable and Nikolas Petralia envisioned. The recent illness eliminated any chance of a start in the $1 million Pacific Classic last weekend.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

Lewis said Thursday that he is pleased with Clubhouse Ride’s condition approaching the Brubaker. He said that Clubhouse Ride has undergone four blood tests since the San Diego Handicap and that the latest results were favorable. Clubhouse Ride has worked twice this month, both times over six furlongs.

“He looks good and he trains good,” Lewis said.

Clubhouse Ride won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 1, his first graded stakes win.

“He was pretty good then,” Lewis said. “We’re hoping that he can come back. The only way to find out is to run him.”

Clubhouse Ride was fourth of five behind division leader and subsequent Pacific Classic winner Game On Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6. The illness was detected after his next race, the San Diego.

For a race with a small purse, the Brubaker drew a strong field of nine, including stakes winners Hawk’s Eyes, Liaison, Lucky Primo, Sky Kingdom, Summer Hit, and Wilkinson; the stakes-placed Batti Man; and Soi Phet, who has won his last three starts.

Soi Phet was being considered for an optional claimer Sunday, and if it fills would start in that race over the Brubaker, trainer Leonard Powell said.

Liaison, the winner earlier this year of the Santana Mile at Santa Anita and the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy at Hollywood Park, was scratched from the Pacific Classic for the Brubaker. Liaison was fifth in the San Diego, but has trained well lately, Bob Baffert said.

“I think he’ll run his race,” Baffert said.

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Baffert also starts Sky Kingdom, who was beaten a half-length by Richard’s Kid in the Cougar II Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on July 26. Richard’s Kid was fourth in the Pacific Classic.

Baffert has the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita in November as a long-term goal for Sky Kingdom.

“I want to get a race into him and point him for the Marathon,” Baffert said.