07/10/2011 7:50PM

Del Mar: Foot abscess may keep Crown of Thorns out of San Diego Handicap

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Benoit & Associates
Trainer Richard Mandella says he is uncertain whether Crown of Thorns will be healthy enough to make the San Diego Handicap later this month at Del Mar.

Crown of Thorns, the winner of the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May, but only seventh after a troubled trip in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs last month, may miss the $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 30 because of an abscess in a foot, trainer Richard Mandella said.

Crown of Thorns was diagnosed with the setback after the Foster.

 “I’m not sure we’ll make it,” Mandella said.

The San Diego field may include Golden Itiz, who won for the first time since the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap in 2010 in a seven-furlong allowance race on Sunday. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Golden Itiz ($10.40) closed from fourth in a field of five to win by a half-length over Red Door Drive in 1:22.68.

Indian Firewater, the 3-2 favorite, finished third, with American Lion fourth. American Lion had not started since an 11th in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

Golden Itiz has won 4 of 7 starts and $160,480 for owners Mace and Samantha Siegel and trainer Ron Ellis.

 “I think he’ll be better around two turns,” Ellis said. “We have to look at the San Diego. As long as he’s doing good, we’ll go there.”

Headley will ship rather than stable at Del Mar

For the first time in decades, trainer Bruce Headley is not sending his stable at Del Mar this summer. The stable will remain at Santa Anita, with only horses nearing a race being sent to Del Mar, according to Karen Headley, the trainer’s daughter and assistant.

Typically, Headley would have sent his horses to Del Mar early Sunday, the day the barn area opened. Del Mar’s season begins on July 20.

“We’re just going to ship down,” Karen Headley said.

Bruce Headley, 77, will train on Santa Anita’s conventional sand-and-clay surface. Del Mar has a Polytrack surface. By staying at Santa Anita, Headley could reverse a trend of disappointing seasons at Del Mar. He won with 3 of 32 starters in 2008, 4 of 34 in 2009, and just 2 of 33 runners last year.

“He’s got to do what he thinks is best for his horses,” Karen Headley said. “It’s his investment and he’s the one that pays the bills.”

Earlier this week, Headley traveled to Kentucky for the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale, his daughter said.