08/30/2012 3:55PM

Del Mar: John Scott taking easier route

Shigeki Kikkawa
Five-year-old John Scott missed 30 months of action with a series of injuries He has raced just seven times.

DEL MAR, Calif. – John Scott, the 5-year-old gelding, is being given an easier finish to his summer campaign than a plan that owner John Harris considered in August.

Last month, Harris and trainer Carla Gaines debated whether to start John Scott in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 26.

They opted to pass in favor of Saturday’s $85,000 Harry Brubaker Stakes over a mile.

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A start in a major race for older horses could happen for John Scott as quickly as Sept. 29 at Santa Anita in the $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes, formerly known as the Goodwood Stakes. The Brubaker is considered a logical progression to that race.

The Pacific Classic, Gaines said, would have been asking for a top effort from John Scott.

“I wanted to avoid that race at that stage because he’s a lightly-raced horse,” she said. “We can see [later] how he does against the bigger horses.”

John Scott has won 4 of 7 starts and $233,144. He made three starts as a 2-year-old here in 2009, including a win in the I’m Smokin Stakes. A series of injuries kept John Scott sidelined for 30 months, until April of this year. In 2012, John Scott has won 2 of 4 starts.

In the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap here on July 28, he led to early stretch and was beaten a half-length by Rail Trip, who finished fourth in the Pacific Classic.

John Scott will be the horse to catch in the Brubaker, which drew a field of seven. Earlier this year, John Scott led or disputed the pace in wins in a seven-furlong allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park and an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles there on June 28.

The Brubaker drew a strong field, including Midnight Interlude, who won the 2011 Santa Anita Derby; Kettle Corn, who won the Grade 3 Native Diver at Hollywood Park last fall; and Spud Spivens, who was fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July.

Kettle Corn was third in the Hollywood Gold Cup and third in the San Diego. He has placed second or third in four stakes since winning the Native Diver.

“He’s run good on this track,” trainer John Sadler said. “Last year he won at a mile and a sixteenth here so [this race] is pretty much the same thing. I think we’re right there.”