04/22/2008 11:00PM

DQ mars track-record effort


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting began on Wednesday with a touch of drama.

In the first race of the meeting, Seismometer, the 7-5 favorite, won a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds at 4 1/2 furlongs, but was disqualified and placed last in the field of five for causing interference shortly after the start.

Then, as the field returned to be unsaddled, Fil's Regent unseated jockey Paul Atkinson, who escaped injury. Fil's Regent was quickly caught by racetrack staff.

The stewards' decision spoiled the win for Seismometer, who was timed in 51.45 seconds, the fastest recording at the distance since Hollywood Park installed a synthetic track in the summer of 2006. According to Hollywood Park timer Russell Hudak, the track record will stand even though Seismometer was disqualified.

At the start, Seismometer drifted in badly, essentially eliminating the two horses to his inside - Granite and Fli's Regent - who finished fourth and fifth.

Seismometer is entered in the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in-training in Pomona on May 13. Trainer Adam Kitchingman wanted to use Wednesday's race to showcase the gelding.

"I've got him in the May sale to sell and I wanted to win the race," Kitchingman said.

The disqualification led to the promotion of Jack Flash as the first winner of the meeting. Owned, trained, and bred by Mike Harrington, Jack Flash ($10.20) finished a nose behind Seismometer.

"I like the colt that won, but I've got about four that are working heads up," Harrington said.

Harrington was not discouraged by the performance of Granite, who was promoted from fourth to third. Granite recovered from the incident at the start to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Seismometer.

"He pretty much got annihilated and finished strong," Harrington said.

Granite was ridden by Aaron Gryder, who praised the condition of the racing surface.

"They were getting over it fine," he said. "It's in good shape."

Earlier this month, Hollywood's Cushion Track brand synthetic surface underwent a two-day refurbishment to add fibers and wax. The surface was installed in August 2006, making it the oldest synthetic surface in California.

Zappa due for a good race now

The erratic form of Zappa in recent months has left trainer John Sadler perplexed. After winning the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap in January, Zappa looked like he would play a significant role in the handicap division.

Sadler is still waiting for that to take place. The breakthrough could come in Saturday's $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood, which will be Zappa's first start since he finished fourth as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita on March 29.

"He bruised his foot last time," Sadler said. "It looks to me his best races are every other race on his form. I don't know if his big races knock him out or what."

Zappa followed the San Pasqual, his first stakes win, with a seventh in the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 9 and a fifth in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 1.

In the Tokyo City, Zappa was third on the final turn of the 1 1/2-mile race and was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Niagara Causeway.

"He didn't run bad last time, but we thought he could win it," Sadler said.

The recent results are still a remarkable turnaround for Zappa, who was claimed by the Barbers for $32,000 in April 2007. The 6-year-old Zappa has won 4 of 12 starts, and has earned $116,492 this year.

"This should be his good race," Sadler said of the Mervyn LeRoy.

The Mervyn LeRoy, run at 1 1/16 miles, has drawn a field of 10 and is led by Surf Cat, the winner of the LeRoy two years ago.

Brief stint in Kentucky for Bejarano

Jockey Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting that ended on Sunday, will miss three days of racing at Hollywood next week to ride at Churchill Downs.

Bejarano will ride at Hollywood on Wednesday, at Churchill from May 1-3, and will return to Hollywood on May 4, according to his agent, Joe Ferrer.

At Churchill, Bejarano's leading mounts on Kentucky Derby weekend include Anak Nakal in the Kentucky Derby, Country Star in the Kentucky Oaks, Ginger Punch in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Stakes, Hystericalady in the Humana Distaff, and Artiste Royale in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, Ferrer said.

Whittingham next for Shamdinan

Shamdinan, last of seven in last Sunday's Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita, emerged from the race unscathed and will be pointed for the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on June 7, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Shamdinan was second to pacesetter Victorian Prince until fading badly when the field reached the stretch. Shamdinan finished 20 lengths behind race winner Big Booster.

"He was too fresh," O'Neill said. "He was too eager."

Second in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Turf at Monmouth Park last fall, Shamdinan was making his second start of 2008. He was ninth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf in Florida on Feb. 23. Last year, Shamdinan won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in his United States debut and was third in the French Derby.

Del Mar adds board members

David H. Batchelder, Jon Kelly, and Marie Moretti have joined the board of directors at Del Mar, expanding the board to 12 members, the track announced Wednesday. In addition, Betty Mabee, whose late husband, John Mabee, was a Del Mar Thoroughbred Club founder, will serve as director emeritus.

Batchelder, of San Diego, founded Relational Investors, an investment fund.

Kelly, of Rancho Santa Fe, is a former television station owner and an active Thoroughbred owner. He was a co-owner of Borrego, the winner of the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar in 2005.

Moretti, of Sacramento, is a public relations executive who served on the California Horse Racing Board for an eight-year span until earlier this year.