08/22/2009 12:00AM

Excessive Blend on a roll

Benoit & Associates
Excessive Blend stays perfect at the Del Mar meet with a victory in Friday's Sandy Blue Handicap.

DEL MAR, Calif. - With two stakes wins in as many starts at Del Mar this summer, Excessive Blend has had a perfect meeting and left trainer Carla Gaines perfectly confused as to what to do with the rapidly improving 3-year-old filly.

Excessive Blend won the Fleet Treat Stakes for statebred filly sprinters on July 25. In Friday's $112,525 Sandy Blue Handicap, her first stakes appearance on turf, she turned in the best performance of her five-race career, storming clear in the final furlong to win the one-mile race by 1 1/2 lengths over Ultra Blend.

"I don't know what to do with her now," Gaines said. "It's taken her quite a few races to pull it all together. When she won the Cal-bred race, she got it. She's a little scopier than her [half-] sisters, Tiz Elemental and Tiz a Blend. We always wanted to stretch her out."

Tiz Elemental won 5 of 12 starts, including three stakes, and $483,740. Tiz a Blend won 3 of 14 starts, one stakes, and $186,354. Those fillies were by Cee's Tizzy, while Excessive Blend is by In Excess. They are out of the Irish-bred mare Blending Element, whom Gaines trained.

Gaines noticed a change in Excessive Blend after she finished third by a head in an allowance race on turf July 4 at Hollywood Park.

"The race at Hollywood, she didn't run until the last eighth of a mile," Gaines said. "She was sightseeing the whole way."

Once at Del Mar, Excessive Blend seemed to take her training more seriously, which Gaines noticed before the Fleet Treat.

"She went over there with a different demeanor," Gaines said. "You could see a different horse."

Owned by breeder Warren Williamson, Excessive Blend has won 3 of 5 starts and $173,175. She could reappear in stakes on turf or the main track and could run in a California Cup race, such as the $100,000 California Cup Matron over 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Santa Anita on Oct. 3.

Bejarano works horses, set to return

Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who has not ridden since opening day after suffering facial injuries in a spill, worked horses for the first time since the accident Saturday.

Bejarano intends to return to riding Friday and will ride the final 10 days of the meeting.

"I worked a couple of horses this morning," he said. "It's good to be back."

Bejarano still has swelling in his left cheekbone where he was kicked by a trailing horse after being unseated July 22. Bejarano suffered a fractured left cheek and jaw in the accident.

When he returns, he plans to wear a safety mask.

"It won't bother me on the horse," he said. "It's for the dirt that flies back."

Bejarano, 27, was the leading rider at this meeting last year. He won six consecutive riding titles at major tracks in Southern California from the 2007-08 Santa Anita winter meeting until the 2008-09 Santa Anita winter meeting.

* Enriched, a half-brother to the seven-time Grade 1 winner and multi-millionaire Lava Man, won an allowance race on turf Friday, leading trainer Craig Dollase to plan a start in the $125,000 California Cup Mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 3.

Owned by breeder Carol Lingenfelter, Enriched ran a mile on turf in 1:34.28, holding off a late run from Quarter Moon. Enriched has won 3 of 7 starts and $116,180. He has yet to appear in a stakes.