10/13/2005 11:00PM

Direct Connect major player in Cal Cup

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ARCADIA, Calif. - By default, Direct Connect has emerged as a top candidate for the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 6.

With Norfolk Stakes winner Brother Derek bound for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park on Oct. 29 and stakes winner Bro Lo sidelined, Direct Connect has risen to the top of the list of probables for the Cal Cup Juvenile.

Direct Connect has won 2 of 3 starts and $121,860 for owner Omar Aldabbagh. The wins came in two stakes - the Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex Park on Sept. 18 and the Cavonnier Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 9.

Trainer Paul Aguirre is just happy to have Direct Connect in his barn. Aldabbagh offered Direct Connect at the Barretts May 2-year-olds in training sale, but bought him back for $50,000. "I don't know how serious he was about selling," Aguirre said.

Purchased by Aldabbagh for $11,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale, Direct Connect is by General Meeting out of Mama Mama, who had one victory and was stakes placed.

In the Cavonnier, Direct Connect rallied from more than 12 lengths off the pace to win the seven-furlong race by a length. The victory left Aguirre encouraged and anxious for the Cal Cup Juvenile over 1 1/16 miles.

"Hopefully, he'll go two turns," Aguirre said.

Two stallions achieve firsts

The young stallions Dixie Dot Com and Malek achieved career milestones hours apart last Monday.

Malek, 12, had his first stakes winner in the United States when Malley Girl won Monday's Cover Gal Stakes over seven furlongs for 2-year-old statebred fillies at Santa Anita.

Malley Girl is unbeaten in two starts, including a $40,000 claiming race for maidens at Del Mar in late August. She was claimed that day by a partnership and turned over to Bob Hess Jr.

Hess said that Malley Girl will be pointed for the California Cup Juvenile Fillies here Nov. 6.

Malek won 10 of 23 starts and $2,382,623 racing in Chile, the United States, and Dubai. Trained by Richard Mandella during his U.S. career, Malek won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in 1998, benefiting from the scratch of Silver Charm on the eve of the race.

In 1999, Malek was second to Almutawakel in the Dubai World Cup and third in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

Malek, who is by Mocito Guapo, stands at Pepper Oaks Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif. His 2006 fee will be $4,000, or $1,000 less than this year.

Malek has been a shuttle stallion in recent years, spending the Southern Hemisphere breeding season in Chile. In that country, he has sired the multiple Group 1 winner Musica Si.

Dixie Dot Com, whose oldest foals are 2, had his first winner when Dixie's Angel won a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies over 5 1/2 furlongs at Bay Meadows on Oct. 10.

Dixie's Angel races for her breeders, Chaiken Family Trust and Ronelle Heller, and is trained by William E. Morey.

Now 10, Dixie Dot Com raced for the Chaiken and Heller families and was trained by William Morey's father, Bill.

On the racetrack, Dixie Dot Com won 8 of 23 starts, including seven stakes, and had earnings of $1,332,775. He won two Grade 2 stakes, including the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes in 1999.

Dixie Dot Com stands at Cardiff Stud Farm in Atascadero, Calif.

For 2006, Dixie Dot Com will stand for $3,000 "for the first handful of mares," said Stephen Sahadi, who owns Cardiff Stud Farm. "We'll try to get some mares booked to him and see how it goes."

Last year, Dixie Dot Com stood for $5,000. Sahadi said he expects Dixie Dot Com's foals to do better in longer races.

"It looks like most of his horses will want a little more ground," Sahadi said. "Most of them are starting to hit the racetrack."