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Del Mar notes: Switch back at two turns for Clement Hirsch
DEL MAR, Calif. – John Sadler has won two of the past four training titles at Del Mar, just missed a third a year ago, and will be looking to move up the standings this year with major chances in the two graded stakes races to be run this weekend.
On Saturday, Sadler will send out the multiple stakes-winning mare Switch in the Grade 1, $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack. On Sunday, Sadler will run Hollywood Juvenile Championship winner Scherer Magic in the Grade 2, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds.
Switch most recently won the A Gleam Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park at seven furlongs, a distance that has been her ideal throughout her career. But she has been effective going two turns, most notably when giving Zenyatta scare when finishing second in the 2010 Lady’s Secret. She was third in last year’s Hirsch.
Because of her victory in the A Gleam, Switch already has earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, in which she has finished second the past two years. The Hirsch offers a fees-paid berth to the BC Ladies’ Classic through the Win and You’re In program.
In her final work for the race, Switch went six furlongs Sunday in 1:11, the best time of 11 at the distance. The next-best time was 1:12.80, nearly two seconds slower.
Switch will have a new rider. Martin Garcia takes over because Garrett Gomez, who rode her in the A Gleam, is on the highly regarded Chilean import Amani, who makes her North American debut for trainer Neil Drysdale.
“Gomez jumped early when he didn’t think we were going here,” Sadler said.
Amani has won 10 times in 11 starts, and last year captured four Group 1 races in her native land, once against males. This will be her first race on a synthetic surface.
Also pointing for the race is Include Me Out, who won the Santa Margarita earlier this year but was upset last time out in the Vanity at Betfair Hollywood Park.
“She broke her maiden on this track,” said Ron Ellis, who trains Include Me Out. “I think she’ll like it the way it is now. It’s not goopy. She likes a firmer surface.”
In addition to those three, others expected to enter the Hirsch are Quaintly and Star Billing.
Ellafitz, second to Include Me Out in the Everett at Hollywood Park on May 19, was nominated but will not run.
“She got sick and missed some time,” trainer Bob Baffert said.
Scherer Magic goes for three in a row
Sadler claimed Scherer Magic out of a winning debut on behalf of owners Gary and Cecil Barber, then brought him back in the Hollywood Juvenile and won. Quick as that, they had turned a profit. In the Best Pal, at 6 1/2 furlongs, Scherer Magic will go for the hat trick, and the field will be populated by at least two Peter Miller-trained fillies who will go there rather than face divisional leader Executiveprivilege in next week’s Sorrento Stakes for fillies.
Scherer Magic completed his serious training with a six-furlong drill Monday with Joe Talamo, who has ridden him in his two prior starts. He went six furlongs in 1:11.60, the best time of five at the distance and a full second faster than the next-best drill. Though small and rather plain looking, “he’s a pretty nice little horse,” Sadler said.
Miller on Tuesday said he will enter three fillies – Heir Kitty, Miss Empire, and Speedinthruthecity – but would only run two. Both Miss Empire and Speedinthruthecity are owned wholly or in part by the Barbers, so it stands to reason that one of them will not run and will await the Sorrento, in which Miller also will run Bares Tripper.
Also expected for the Best Pal are Amarish, Heir of Storm, Know More, and Moreno.
Fukunaga targeting stakes win
Yuichi Fukunaga, the champion Japanese jockey who is riding at Del Mar this summer, got his first victory of the meet Sunday with the debuting 2-year-old filly Switch to the Lead in tandem with trainer Patrick Biancone. Fukunaga and Biancone will team up again Saturday in the Hirsch with Quaintly, who will seek to give Fukunaga his first stakes win of the season.
“He was pretty pumped after winning on Sunday,” jockey agent Brian Beach, who is representing Fukunaga during his U.S. visit, said Tuesday morning. “It was a long time coming, but he understands the situation here. He’s very patient for a guy who’s used to winning a lot and winning a lot of big races.
“He’s a class act. For him, it’s all about being the best, learning, comparing his skills to the American riders. That’s why he’s here.”
Beach said Fukunaga will make a brief visit to Japan for a race there Aug. 19, but will return and ride through the end of the meeting before returning to Japan for the fall. Summer racing in Japan is not as important as in the spring and fall.
Take Control points to Pacific Classic
Take Control was a deceptively good fourth Saturday in the San Diego Handicap, so much so that his trainer, Baffert, said he will likely run him next in the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 26.
Take Control, by A.P. Indy out of Azeri – each a Horse of the Year – was making only his third lifetime start in the San Diego. He is the fourth horse Baffert has pointing to the Pacific Classic, along with Game On Dude, Jaycito, and Richard’s Kid.
“There wasn’t any pace in the San Diego,” Baffert said, “but we don’t have to worry about pace in the Pacific Classic.”
Fed Biz back on the work tab
Back in the spring, Fed Biz looked like a potential late-developing 3-year-old star for Baffert, but he was injured and went to the sidelines following a powerful allowance victory at Santa Anita in February. He is back in serious training at Del Mar, where he has had two published workouts.
“He’s doing good,” Baffert said. “We never could find anything seriously wrong with him. It just looks like it was a hind-end muscle. We gave him 60 days off, and so far, so good.”
Bob should sent some of those Horses east. I don't see the sense in running 4 Horses in the Pacific Classic
one day Fed Biz will be a monstar
I think Ultra Blend won this race last year off a win in the A Gleam in come from behind fashion. I hope Take Control has good odds. That race was 1 1/16 miles and he flew past them all during the gallop out. The Pacific Classic will also be his 3rd race off a layoff.