05/29/2002 11:00PM

Del Mar opposes Fairplex at Santa Anita


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The board of directors at Del Mar has voted to oppose the proposed relocation of the Fairplex Park racing dates to Santa Anita this September.

Last week, officials with Fairplex Park and Santa Anita reached an agreement to move the 17-day fair to Santa Anita from Sept. 13-29. The proposal is subject to approval by the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday.

The Del Mar board met in a special session on Wednesday. In a statement released after the meeting, executives expressed concern that moving the Fairplex Park dates would hurt the horse population at the Del Mar meeting, which concludes on Sept. 11.

In part, the statement read, "In Del Mar's view, the proposed transfer of dates has serious potential negatives relating to field size, which must be considered judiciously and not in the haste inherent in the request by the Los Angeles County Fair submitted on May 22.

"There is absolutely no justification for considering this issue outside of the normal dates allocation process in light of the fact that the Los Angeles County Fair has indicated that it is prepared to run its dates at Fairplex should the California Horse Racing Board refuse its request."

The statement concludes by saying, "The decision by Fairplex to eliminate live racing at its venue represents an opportunity to re-examine the Southern California racing calendar, and that issues of this magnitude should be evaluated thoughtfully by all parties with an interest in Thoroughbred racing in California."

Del Mar is the third racing association to publicly oppose the transfer of Fairplex Park racing dates. Last week, the Oak Tree Racing Association, which operates a fall meeting at Santa Anita, and Hollywood Park, stated they were not in favor of the switch.

The board of directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California will meet via conference call on Monday to form an opinion, according to president John Van de Kamp.

Gobi Dan wins first stakes

Gobi Dan won his first stakes in the $100,000 California Sires Stakes for males on Thursday.

Ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, Gobi Dan ($4.20) swept by the pacesetters on the final turn and was not challenged late, scoring by three lengths over Sterling Wisdom, a former maiden claimer who set the early pace.

"He looked pretty good against those," said winning trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Gobi Dan finished 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:42.13. Kith finished third, followed by Highly Suspect and Antique, a first-time starter.

A $4,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in-training, Gobi Dan has earned $214,770. He was fourth as the favorite in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes on April 28, the richest race for California-bred 3-year-olds.

Cecil and Zucker get medication fines

Trainers Ben Cecil and Howard Zucker have received substantial fines for medication violations that occurred during the Del Mar meeting last summer, the California Horse Racing Board announced on Thursday.

Cecil was fined $5,000 after Queenie Belle was found to have tested positive for promazine, which is listed as a class 2 drug.

Queenie Belle finished second in the seventh race on Aug. 24, 2001, the $95,150 Piedra Foundation Handicap. Queenie Belle's earnings of $19,660 have been forfeited. The purse for the second through fourth-place finishers has been redistributed.

Zucker was fined $6,000 after Crafty C. T. tested positive for albuterol, a bronchial dilator listed as a class 3 drug. Crafty C. T. finished unplaced in the seventh race on Aug. 23, 2001.

Medication violations for drugs listed in classes 1, 2, and 3 are subject to purse redistribution and possible trainer sanctions.

Both fines were part of stipulated settlements reached between the trainers and the CHRB, according to CHRB steward Tom Ward.

Ela Ela speedy in pre-Cinderella work

Ela Ela, an easy winner of a maiden race at The Downs at Albuquerque on May 18, worked three furlongs in 34.40 seconds at Hollywood Park on Thursday, preparing for Sunday's $75,000 Cinderella Stakes.

The workout was the fastest of 13 recorded at the distance, and was the first time that jockey Chris McCarron was aboard Ela Ela.

Ela Ela won a five-furlong maiden race by 8 3/4 lengths in her career debut. She was transferred to trainer Rafael Becerra for the Cinderella, where she will face a field that includes Alpine Singer, Bartok's Blithe, Global Finance, Himalayan, Little Bit a Swiss, Magic Smoke, My Honey Bunny, and Swinging Swiss.

Global Finance will be favored. She won the Nursery Stakes on May 11. Alpine Singer, My Honey Bunny, and Swinging Swiss will be coupled as an entry owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington. All three are by Swiss Yodeler, who will also be represented by Little Bit a Swiss, who is trained by Harrington's wife, Patricia, and owned by Steinmann's daughter, Teresa Stapleton.

The Cinderella is a supporting feature for the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap over six furlongs. The Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap is led by Kona Gold, the 125-pound highweight, who is expected to face Full Moon Madness, Hombre Rapido, No Armistice, Radiata, and Rapidough.