09/02/2013 11:12AM

Del Mar: Rail Trip preps for fall campaign in Pirates's Bounty Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Rail Trip will make his first start since June 29 in Wednesday's Pirate’s Bounty Stakes at Del Mar.

This content is part of a free preview of DRF Plus. Click to learn more.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Rail Trip, the millionaire 8-year-old gelding, needs a start in Wednesday’s $90,000 Pirate’s Bounty Stakes at Del Mar to stay on schedule for a fall campaign at Santa Anita. and a start in the Breeders’ Cup.

He is not the only runner in the six-furlong race in that situation.

The Pirate’s Bounty Stakes and the $90,000 California Equine Retirement Foundation Stakes for fillies and mares, both on Wednesday, attracted several starters returning from layoffs who could start in Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 and 2.

In 2012, Rail Trip was second in the BC Dirt Mile, a race owner Samantha Siegel and trainer Ron Ellis have as a goal this year.

“I want to get a couple of races in him if we have a chance to go in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile,” Ellis said.

DRF Plus Preview

Rail Trip has started once this year, finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 29. He emerged from that race with a sore foot that disrupted his summer campaign.

“He had a foot abscess that I was dealing with,” Ellis said. “The foot has been getting better and better. We want to get a race into him.”

As for Rail Trip’s prospects on Wednesday, Ellis downplayed his chances, but said, “I never put anything past a classy horse like him.”

[DEL MAR FUTURITY: Get PPs, watch Wednesday's card live]

The Pirate’s Bounty and CERF Stakes are restricted to nonwinners of a stakes worth $50,000 or more at a mile other than statebred races since March 1. Both races are run over six furlongs.

The Pirate’s Bounty field of nine includes the multiple stakes winner Ain’t No Other; Private Zone, who was second in four consecutive sprint stakes last fall and winter; Roman Threat, unraced since winning the Los Angeles Handicap in May 2012; and Ruler of Dubai, winner of two stakes here in 2011.

Private Zone has not raced since finishing ninth in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan in March.

“We slowed down on him and gave him 30 days off,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He’d had a long year.”

Roman Threat, a 5-year-old gelding, has been limited to three career starts. He is likely to set the pace, trainer Bob Baffert said.

“He’s fast,” he said. “He’s showed a lot of brilliance before he left. This is a good spot for him.”

Baffert also runs So Brilliant, the sharp winner of an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on June 30 in his last start. Baffert said the Pirate’s Bounty is a prep for the $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 5 for So Brilliant.

Ruler of Dubai has not raced since finishing third in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita in October, 2011, a layoff caused by a tendon injury. The Pirate’s Bounty will help Ruler of Dubai prepare for the Santa Anita meeting, trainer George Papaprodromou said.

“He could do with another work or two,” Papaprodromou said. “It can be a prep race for him.”

CERF: Gypsy Robin starts outside

The CERF Stakes will be the second start of 2013 for Gypsy Robin, a three-time stakes winner in 2012.

Trained by Mike Puype, Gypsy Robin was fourth behind Reneesgotzip in an allowance race July 18. Reneesgotzip returned to win the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 18.

Gypsy Robin needed the start, Puype said.

“I rushed to get her ready for that,” Puype said. “I think she’s in better shape going into this race. I expect her to run big.”

The CERF Stakes drew six fillies and mares. Gypsy Robin drew the outside post.

There will be widespread support for Wednesday and Big Honey Bee, who were first and second in an optional claimer Aug. 7.

Madame Cactus starts for the first time since finishing fourth in the Delta Princess Stakes in Louisiana last November. A maiden race winner at Santa Anita last September when trained by Peter Eurton, Madame Cactus won the My Trusty Cat Stakes at Delta Downs for Steve Asmussen last October.

She has been back in training with Eurton in recent months.

“I think she’s a relatively fit filly for as much as I can do in the morning,” Eurton said.