07/31/2013 4:19PM

Del Mar notes: Byrama to stay in routes for rest of 2013

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Benoit & Associates
Byrama, who won the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap going 1 1/8 miles in June, will focus on longer races for the rest of 2013.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – A win in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in June has changed Byrama’s career.

A 4-year-old filly, Byrama raced primarily at six furlongs to a mile before winning the $250,000 Vanity over 1 1/8 miles on Hollywood’s synthetic main track. For the second half of the year, the focus will be on longer races, including Saturday’s $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Del Mar.

Last month, Byrama finished third in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs, losing by 2 1/2 lengths to Book Review and running best at the finish.

“She really galloped out very well,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “It showed us that it was too short of a distance. The seven-eighths was a good platform to go back up in distance.”

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Callaghan said three races in seven weeks suits Byrama, who races for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

“She seems to thrive on it,” Callaghan said.

The Clement Hirsch is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita in November.

The Hirsch drew a strong field. Aside from Byrama, the projected field of nine includes defending champion Include Me Out and five other graded stakes winners – Great Hot, Lady of Fifty, More Chocolate, Quiet Oasis, and Via Villaggio – along with the graded stakes-placed Sisterhood and stakes winner Sister Kate.

Include Me Out, who won the Desert Stormer Handicap in her 2013 debut, is the likely favorite.

“There is probably no standout, but they are definitely good horses,” Callaghan said of the field. “Us, with three or four others, we’ll go into the race thinking we have a shot to win.”

Farraaj likely for Pacific Classic

The $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 25 is expected to have an international flavor. Farraaj, the winner of two stakes over 1 1/4 miles on Polytrack at Lingfield in England, is a probable starter for Del Mar’s richest race, according to international racing officials.

A 4-year-old colt by Dubai Destination, Farraaj is expected to arrive in California in mid-August to begin preparation. Farraaj has won 4 of 9 starts and about $251,000 for owner Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum and trainer Roger Varian.

In consecutive starts at Lingfield, Farraaj won the Churchill Stakes last November and the Group 3 Winter Derby in March. Despite its name, the Winter Derby is run for older horses. In his most recent start, Farraaj was fifth of seven in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile on turf at Sandown Park in April, finishing more than seven lengths behind Trumpet Major.

The Pacific Classic, run over 1 1/4 miles, is expected to have a strong field. The leading candidates include defending champion Dullahan; Game On Dude, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6; Jeranimo, who won the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes on turf July 20; Kettle Corn, the winner of the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on July 27; and Richard’s Kid, who won the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010 and the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap on July 26.

Comma to the Top to undergo test

Comma to the Top, fifth in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes last Sunday, is scheduled to undergo a precautionary nuclear scan on a front foot Friday, trainer Peter Miller said.

Miller said Wednesday that Comma to the Top has showed prolonged signs of soreness in the foot. A nuclear scan will offer a more detailed analysis of Comma to the Top’s condition.

“He’s still sore on it,” Miller said. “Hopefully, it’s just the foot.”

Comma to the Top finished 5 1/4 lengths behind Points Offthebench in the Bing Crosby. A winner of 14 of 33 starts and $1,349,406, the horse has won three stakes this year.

Sharkbait Willie set for debut

Sharkbait Willie, a 2-year-old colt by Unusual Heat who makes his debut in the first race Friday for trainer Barry Abrams, is named for the son of co-owner Robert Huston, who got the moniker from Roger Cadman, a fishing buddy of Huston.

Huston said that when his son, Will, loses a fish or has some other misfortune strike him on the water, Cadman says, “You are going to be sharkbait, Willie.”

Huston said Cadman “looks and talks like a pirate,” calling him “a salty, old character who has been awfully good to Will over the years and donates his time and fishing trips” to a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation tournament held by Huston.“Everyone thinks he’s a real-life pirate, but he’s the nicest guy,” Huston said.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman