06/18/2009 11:00PM

Delta Storm earns Bing Crosby shot


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Last fall, after a stakes win at Del Mar, Delta Storm gave owner Michael House and trainer Mike Mitchell a reason to be ambitious, and they started the gelding in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita.

This year, the same ideas have struck just before summertime.

Delta Storm won his 2009 debut in Thursday's $76,145 Robert Kerlan Memorial Handicap over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park, and Mitchell said the 8-year-old gelding will be pointed for the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap over six furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 8.

The Bing Crosby is one of two Grade 1 stakes for sprinters on the main track at Del Mar. A win in the Bing Crosby would be the biggest victory of Delta Storm's career.

Considering that Delta Storm has won his last two starts, Mitchell says this is an ideal time for another Grade 1 test.

"I thought if there was a time to run in the Bing Crosby now would be the time to do it," he said.

Delta Storm ($9.20) led throughout the Kerlan, holding a two-length advantage in early stretch and winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Sky Cape. Delta Storm was timed in 1:07.94.

The Kerlan was his first start since a win in an optional claimer last December, for which Delta Storm was eligible to be claimed for $100,000.

"He was a good horse last year," Mitchell said. "I called Mike [House] and said, 'We'll run him for $100,000. If we don't lose him, we'll kick him out.' He was just tired. He showed it."

Claimed for $40,000 at Churchill Downs in May 2008, Delta Storm has won 4 of 8 starts since then. He won the restricted Pirate's Bounty Handicap over six furlongs on the main track at Del Mar last summer, which justified the start in the Ancient Title, where Delta Storm set the pace but faded to finish fourth.

In mid-October, still hoping to reach a Breeders' Cup race, Mitchell tried Delta Storm in the restricted Kangaroo Court on the hillside turf course, hoping a win there would lead to a start in the BC Turf Sprint. Delta Storm could only finish second, ending any Breeders' Cup hopes.

The Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita is still 20 weeks away, but such races have already crossed Mitchell's mind. "He's come back really well," Mitchell said.

Landaluce next for Ballistic Sue

Ballistic Sue needed three starts to beat maidens, finally doing so in Thursday's first race at Hollywood Park. Her comprehensive victory has given trainer Peter Miller a reason to point the 2-year-old filly to the $100,000 Landaluce Stakes on July 12.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Ballistic Sue, a City Zip filly, disputed the early pace, took the lead and won by 2 1/4 lengths over Magic Yodeler. Ballistic Sue ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.96.

After finishing seventh and second in her first two starts of the meeting, Ballistic Sue raced without blinkers for the first time on Thursday and greatly benefited from the equipment change, Baze said.

"She's so fast, it's ridiculous," Baze said. "She may still get better. I was going to follow something, but I left everybody."

Owned by the partnership of Altamira Racing Stable, Charleville Stables, and Gerson Racing, Ballistic Sue was purchased for $65,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale 2-year-olds in-training sale in March.

"She's very fast, but she's not speed-crazy," Miller said. "I think she's a very nice filly. Maybe we got lucky and bought a bargain for $65,000."

Long-time assistant now on his own

Robert Troeger, a former assistant to Jack Van Berg, Mike Machowsky, and Jeff Mullins, has launched a 14-horse racing stable in Southern California.

Troeger, 52, was scheduled to start Sea of Pleasure in the $250,000 Charles Town Dash over 4 1/2 furlongs in West Virginia on Saturday. Sunday at Hollywood Park, he runs Blazing Spirit in the first race, a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles.

"He acts like he wants to go long," Troeger said of Blazing Spirit. "He's tearing the barn down right now."

Blazing Spirit was previously trained by Mullins, whom Troeger assisted for five years. Troeger trained a small stable until the early 1990s when he became an assistant.

"It's been a while since I ran something in my name," he said.

Hameildaeme may try San Clemente

Hameildaeme, the winner of an optional claimer over a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies on Thursday, will make her stakes debut at Del Mar, trainer Jamie Lloyd said on Friday.

Lloyd would like to run Hameildaeme in the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap over a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies on Aug. 1.

Sent off favored on Thursday, Hameildaeme ($7) rallied from seventh in a field of eight to win by a head over a fast-closing Andalacia. Owned by Newmarket TR, Hameildaeme has won 2 of 11 starts.

"She looks like she came out of the race really well," Lloyd said.

Purse redistributed for violation

The purse of a $12,500 claiming race on May 2 has been redistributed after race winner Areutrue tested in excess of the permitted level of clenbuterol, Hollywood Park stewards announced Thursday.

Clenbuterol is a commonly-used bronchial dilator for horses with breathing problems. It is allowed to appear in post-race tests at minute levels.

Areutrue earned $7,800 for the partnership of Frank Alesia, Bran Jam Stable, and Ciglia Racing. That prize money and jockey Tyler Baze's share of the purse, $720, has been ordered returned to the track's paymaster.

The revised order of finish from first through fifth is Senor Afortunado, Oldtophatandtails, Elusive Chief, Noble Courage, and Magna Cum Laude. The race was for nonwinners of two lifetime.

Thursday, Senor Afortunado won a $12,500 claiming race for nonwinners of two lifetime, and has therefore been awarded first-place earnings in two such races at this meeting. He was eligible for Thursday's race because the purse redistribution had not been ordered when entries were drawn on June 14.

* Trainer James Barnes has been fined $2,500 by Hollywood Park stewards after one of his starters tested in excess of the permitted level of the anti-inflammatory Flunixin last month. The excessive level was found in a post-race test taken from Razor Cut, the runner-up in the sixth race on May 8, a $12,500 claimer for nonwinners of two over 7 1/2 furlongs.