07/24/2013 3:06PM

Del Mar: San Diego amends spot for Clubhouse Ride

Shigeki Kikkawa
Clubhouse Ride won the Grade 2 Californian (above), but then finished fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – As sharp as Clubhouse Ride was in winning the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 1, he was a disappointment when fourth in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6.

“It wasn’t his day,” trainer Craig Lewis said Wednesday.

Lewis plans to start Clubhouse Ride in Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap over 1 1/16 miles at Del Mar, hoping to see an improved performance that would justify a start in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 25.

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“We’ll know if he belongs on the 25th,” Lewis said. “If not, we’ll run someplace else.”

Owned by Nikolas Petralia and Six-S Racing Stable, Clubhouse Ride has won 4 of 29 starts and $989,520. The Californian was his first graded stakes win, and Lewis hopes the 5-year-old can replicate that performance in a small field in the San Diego.

Lewis is hopeful that the presence of the speedy 3-year-old Chief Havoc, winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 4, can provide an honest pace in the San Diego. In the Gold Cup, race winner Game On Dude set a slow pace, including an opening quarter-mile in 25 seconds, and won by a length over Kettle Corn.

“They went in 25 seconds,” Lewis said. “It speaks for itself.

“I’ll see if he’s tailed off or if circumstances dictated the outcome of the race.”

The Grade 2 San Diego is led by Paynter, winner of the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, who later overcame bouts with colitis and laminitis before returning to training over the winter. Paynter won his comeback in an allowance race over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park in June.

“I’d like to let him relax,” Lewis said of Clubhouse Ride. “With a reasonable pace, it will help him relax.”