11/12/2008 12:00AM

Delightful Kiss to hit the road again


MIAMI - A purse cut from $500,000 to $400,000 along with the imposing presence of Commentator may have some trainers thinking twice about running a horse in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28. But not Pete Anderson.

Anderson is in the process of making plans to ship Delightful Kiss, fresh off a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita, to Kentucky for the Clark.

"I'd had the Clark in the back of my mind since before we left California," said Anderson. "I'm trying to see if I can get a plane to fly him out there. If not, we'll put him on the van. As long as the weights are fair, we'll go."

Anderson, 76, a former rider and throwback to the glory days of the sport, brought Delightful Kiss back home to Calder following the Breeders' Cup. They have barnstormed the country for most of the year, with Delightful Kiss making seven starts at seven different racetracks since launching his campaign with a second-place finish in the Blazing Sword overnight stakes here on May 24.

Anderson said the highlight of the year was Delightful Kiss's one-length victory in the Grade 3 All American Stakes at Golden Gate on Sept. 27.

"My daughter, who is training out at Golden Gate, won the last race on the same card that day, while my son-in-law, who can gallop a bear, got on the horse for me while we were out there," said Anderson, who is the father of trainer Aggie Ordonez.

Anderson said he also had a wonderful time at Santa Anita during Breeders' Cup week - once he and his horse finally arrived in Southern California, that is.

"The van ride down from San Francisco was a nightmare," said Anderson. "It took 10 to 11 hours. We were stopped for two hours in the same spot at one point. My horse also cut his head on the van. It was superficial but we couldn't treat him with antibiotics because it was too close to the race. But once we got there, I had a great reunion with an old friend, Ron McAnally, who treated me and my horse like a king in his barn. I also was very pleased with the way Delightful Kiss ran in the Marathon, getting beat less than two lengths despite some trouble."

Delightful Kiss breezed an easy half-mile in 49 seconds here earlier this week. He will be ridden by Calvin Borel in the Clark.

"I wanted to bring him back home and train him easy before shipping to Kentucky," Anderson said. "The Clark will be tough with Commentator in there, but I got Borel, and even though they cut the purse, $400,000 is still a lot of money."

Delightful Kiss is no stranger to Churchill Downs. He and Anderson were stabled there earlier this year prior to taking on Curlin in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. Delightful Kiss finished seventh, beaten 12 lengths.

"They gave Curlin 128 pounds and should have put 138 on him for the Foster," said Anderson.

Anderson, never one to hold back an opinion, said he rode three horses who he believes were better than Curlin.

"I rode Beau Biddle, Forego, and a horse called Lucky Draw in his final start when I was only 16 years old, and I think they all could have beaten Curlin," said Anderson. "Curlin's a great horse and he's made $10 million, but some of those horses might have made $10 million, too, if the purses back then were like they are now."

Top rider okay after spill

Leading rider Paco Lopez escaped serious injury when he fell as his mount, Survi Star, clipped heels on the turn during Tuesday's eighth race. According to his agent, Cory Moran, Lopez will decide that morning whether he will ride when racing resumes here Friday.

"He's got some bumps and bruises, nothing major, but we have a couple of days off to see how he's doing," said Moran. "If he's not feeling 100 percent, I won't let him ride this weekend."

Jockey Christian Dominguez also went down in the spill, but according to preliminary reports also escaped serious injury.

Tour of the Cat top contender Friday

Tour of the Cat, who has earned over $1 million in his career, has returned home following a brief tour of the Midwest and will be among the choices in Friday's $22,400 allowance feature. Tour of the Cat, 10, registered claiming wins at both Presque Isle Downs and Keeneland for trainer Gerald Bennett before being reunited with trainer Myra Mora at Calder.

Mora has campaigned Tour of the Cat through the majority of a career that included a trip to Dubai in 2004. The son of Tour d'Or won an optional claiming race for Mora here in May.

Friday's headliner drew a strong field that also includes the graded stakes-placed Tour Ireland, the red-hot pair of I Am Trouble and Too Good, and the hard-knocking 3-year-olds Unique Afleet and Nathan Ridge.

* Apprentice Roan Vargas suffered a small fracture in his left elbow when his mount, Serapi Cat, clipped heels during Sunday's eighth race. Vargas, who rides with a seven-pound bug and has won five races during the Tropical meet, will be sidelined for only about 10 days, according to his agent, Pedro Garcia.