07/23/2013 3:01PM

Del Mar: Majestic City ready to peak in Bing Crosby

Barbara D. Livingston
Majestic City will make the third start of his form cycle in Sunday's Bing Crosby.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – When trainer Ron Ellis brought Centralinteligence off a long layoff earlier this year, he used two races as preps for the main goal, and saw it all pay off with a victory in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Ellis is desirous of similar results with another of his sprinters, Majestic City, who makes his third start off a layoff in the Grade 1, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar.

“Third race off the layoff, that’s the plan,” Ellis said Tuesday morning. “Each race, he’s getting better and stronger.”

Majestic City had been off for 10 months when he returned in the Los Angeles Handicap on May 27. He finished fourth.

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Ellis and Jeff Bloom, who runs the Bloom Racing Stable partnership that owns Majestic City, thought they had found a perfect next step in an allowance race on June 14. Majestic City fired that day. Trouble was, Paynter showed up there for his comeback, and beat Majestic City by 4 1/2 lengths, though Majestic City was 6 1/4 lengths in front of everybody else.

On Tuesday, Majestic City had his final work for the Crosby, a half-mile in 47.60 seconds.

“He looked good, didn’t he?” Ellis said as Majestic City galloped out. “He did it easy. He looks great. He lowered himself and stretched out, and he worked well within himself.”

Majestic City, now 4, ran well here at age 2 when trained by Peter Miller. He crossed the wire second in the Del Mar Futurity, but was placed third following a disqualification. Majestic City’s fondness for Polytrack “is one of the reasons we pointed for this race,” Ellis said.

“We were hoping to get two races into him before we got here,” he said.

Two other potential Crosby runners – Fast Bullet and Jimmy Creed – also worked a half-mile here on Tuesday. Fast Bullet, in company, was timed in 48.40 seconds, while Jimmy Creed was timed in 48.60 seconds.

Fast Bullet never has raced at Del Mar or on Polytrack. On a national teleconference Tuesday, his owner, Ahmed Zayat, said he wasn’t sure Fast Bullet would run.

“My gut feeling is the Vanderbilt,” Zayat said, referring to the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga on Aug. 4, “or another spot.”

“I’m not sure this is his best surface,” said Zayat, who said he would speak to his son, Justin, and trainer Bob Baffert regarding running, “but if it was me deciding, no.”

Others slated for the Crosby are Comma to the Top, Goldencents, and Points Offthebench.

Baffert does zigging and zagging

Bob Baffert called a couple of audibles on Tuesday with two of his stakes runners.

Power Broker, whom Baffert initially had targeted for the Grade  1 Haskell on Sunday at Monmouth but then thought would go to the Grade  2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer, worked his way back into the Haskell field with a five-furlong work in 1:00.80 Tuesday that so impressed Baffert he arranged to ship him via a Fed-Ex flight.

Baffert earlier Tuesday sent Code West to Saratoga on a scheduled horse flight for the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on Saturday. Midnight Lucky, the Grade 1 Acorn winner, was supposed to be on that flight, too, for the Grade 1 Prioress on Saturday, but she emerged from a workout on Sunday – in which she went a half-mile in 46 seconds – with a bruised foot, Baffert said.

Ship-and-win an alluring bonus

The ship-and-win program instituted by Del Mar to pay a premium to horses who come here from out of state and win was one of the reasons cited by trainer Henry Dominguez for running Isn’t He Clever in Thursday’s featured seventh race.

Though the race carries an $85,000 purse, with the bonus, “it’s like we’re running for more than $100,000 if he wins,” Dominguez said.

Trainer Richard Mandella was hoping for a similar situation to ease Argentine import Indy Point into United States racing, but when no suitable allowance races went, he had to go in the $90,000 Wickerr Stakes on Wednesday. Indy Point is top-class, a three-time Group 1 winner in Argentina.

“He would have been eligible to that ship-and-win bonus, but it doesn’t count for a stakes race,” Mandella said. “It’s a great program. It’s just too bad that he’s running in a stakes race for less money than he would have if an allowance race filled.

“The program could be used as a great incentive for horses like him. His owners are taking on great expense to bring a horse like him here, so it would be nice if there would be more opportunities for horses of that caliber to take advantage of ship-and-win.”

Rail Trip points for Brubaker

A foot abscess that interrupted the training of Rail Trip will keep him out of the Grade 2, $200,000 San Diego Handicap this Saturday, but he recently returned to the work tab, with a three-furlong drill in 37.60 seconds on Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park, and he now will be pointed for a start toward the end of this meet, in the $90,000 Harry Brubaker at one mile on Polytrack on Aug. 31, according to Ellis, his trainer.

“The abscess finally popped out,” Ellis said. “I’m going to keep him at Hollywood. He’ll come down here closer to the race.”

Ellis on Tuesday did ship his outstanding older mare Include Me Out from Hollywood to Del Mar to prepare for a title defense in the Grade 1, $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes on Aug. 3. Ellis said she would gallop here for several days before a scheduled work early next week.

Spring Moon possible for Sorrento

The 2-year-old filly Spring Moon, who rocketed to a debut win on Sunday, will be considered for the Grade 2, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 7, Baffert said. The Sorrento is a prep for the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 31.

“I’ll have to see how she’s doing,” Baffert said. “So far, it looks like she handled that pretty well.”

Spring Moon is from the first crop of Zensational, whom Baffert trained for Zayat. Spring Moon is owned by Arnold Zetcher, who purchased her as a yearling for $180,000 last September at Keeneland.

◗ After the Finish Line, a non-profit organization that rescues ex-racehorses, will have its sixth annual fund-raiser following the races on Thursday at the Del Mar Hilton, across the street from the track, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: (858) 945-1371.