08/17/2001 11:00PM

El Corredor continues comeback in Del Mar BC


DEL MAR, Calif. - El Corredor, an impressive winner of the Pat O'Brien Handicap in his first start of the year Aug. 12, will defend his title in the $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 2, trainer Bob Baffert said on Saturday.

Baffert reported that the 4-year-old El Corredor, who was out of action earlier this year because of foot problems, emerged from the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien in fine shape.

"He was short in his last race," Baffert said of the Pat O'Brien. "People don't believe me, but he wasn't cranked up. He won because he's a great horse. He came out of it very well."

El Corredor will try to become the first repeat winner of the Del Mar BC, which was inaugurated in 1987.

Concert packs 'em in

Del Mar set a record attendance for a Friday program of 27,341 last week. Many of those who attended were lured by a post-racing rock concert. The crowd at the show was so large that additional law enforcement was called in to the track.

Eight deputies were dispatched to the racetrack after an off-duty San Diego policeman feared that a riot would start and called for backup. There were no major disturbances reported by police.

Some customers leaving the grandstand following the last race complained on Saturday that they had been jostled by concert goers, who were packed tightly in a plaza awaiting the show. Estimates of attendance at the concert ranged from 10,000 to 15,000.

No arrests were made, but track president Joe Harper said some people were treated for minor injuries.

The concert, performed by Jack Johnson, was one in a series of Friday evening shows held at the track.

"There were so many folks they were going everywhere, climbing up on palm trees and going on the roof," Harper said. "Fortunately, it was a low-key band. For the most part, folks were behaving themselves.

"We expected a larger-than-normal crowd, but we didn't expect it to triple. For the most part, I was kind of relieved it went as smoothly as it did."

Harper said the track stopped counting customers after the races ended. He said the operations department estimated that 4,000 people arrived after racing ended.

"If that would have been the Beastie Boys, we would have been in trouble," he said.

A special filly

Toby's Baby, the winner of Friday's first race, for California-bred 2-year-old maiden fillies, is special to trainer Dan Hendricks.

By Oraibi, Toby's Baby is out of Toulange, who gave Hendricks his first stakes winner when she won the 1987 Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar. Both Toulange and Toby's Baby are owned by Dr. Robert Jones.

Hendricks said Toby's Baby will be considered for the Generous Portion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies here Aug. 29 as well as stakes at Bay Meadows and Fairplex Park.

Comeback for Give Praise

Give Praise, the winner of the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes last year, may make her comeback in the $50,000 Bangles and Beads Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Fairplex Park on Sept. 18.

Now trained by Don Burke II, Give Praise was sold after finishing unplaced in the Barretts Debutante last September. She made two starts this spring for trainer Elliott Walden in Kentucky, and was unplaced in both.

"We just need to get her started," said Burke.

Burke said an attempt was made to breed her but that she did not get in foal.

Seven for Del Mar 'Cap

A field of seven is likely for the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap next Saturday, the final major turf race of the meeting for older horses.

Run over 1 3/8 miles, the field for the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap is expected to include Cagney, Falcon Flight, Fusaichi Zenon, Kudos, Northern Quest, Shelter Cove, and Sumati. Cagney won the restricted Escondido Handicap over this course on Aug. 1.

Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Debutante will be run over seven furlongs and will not have a large field. The last of five Grade 1 stakes run at this meeting, the Debutante is led by Tempera, a nine-length winner of the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 4, and Habibaty, an impressive two-length winner of a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs in her career debut July 29.