08/24/2009 11:00PM

Flores back aboard Monterey Jazz


DEL MAR, Calif. - Veteran jockey David Flores has regained the mount on Monterey Jazz for Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Mile, replacing an injured Tyler Baze.

For Flores, the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile will be the first time he has ridden Monterey Jazz since a sixth-place finish in the at Santa Anita in February. Flores was aboard Monterey Jazz for two of the 5-year-old horse's biggest wins - the Grade 2 Strub Stakes and Grade 3 Texas Mile in early 2008.

Baze has ridden Monterey Jazz in his last four starts, including a win in the at Hollywood Park on July 4 and a fifth-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes here on July 25. Baze is sidelined with a broken finger sustained last weekend and was scheduled to see a specialist in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday, according to his agent, Ron Ebanks.

Flores was a quick choice as a replacement, said trainer Craig Dollase.

"David was very influential to Tyler on how to ride the horse, and we're going to return the favor," Dollase said. "Hopefully, it will be fruitful for us on Saturday."

Monterey Jazz will play a pivotal role in the Del Mar Mile as the expected pacesetter.

"He's kind of a tough horse to ride," Dollase said. "David has ridden him and knows him. We feel good about it."

Owned by the partnership of A&R and Class racing stables, Monterey Jazz has won 8 of 20 starts and $677,880.

The race could finalize the horse's fall campaign. The Del Mar Mile is part of the Breeders' Cup's Win and You're In program, offering an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, subject to the payment of entry fees.

Monterey Jazz is not expected to have many rivals. The probable starters include the filly Allicansayis Wow, Becrux, Ferneley, Temple City, Victor's Cry, and possibly the filly Lethal Heat.

Handicap field good-sized

Baze had been expected to ride Obrigado in Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf, but the mount on that 6-year-old gelding will go to Rafael Bejarano, who is returning to riding on Friday from facial injuries suffered in a spill on July 22.

The Del Mar Handicap is part of the Win and You're In program for the Breeders' Cup Turf over 1 1/2 miles on turf. The Del Mar Handicap is expected to have a large field, reflecting the absence of a standout in California's turf marathon division.

The probable starters are Artiste Royale, Black Astor, Itsnotjustagame, Midships, Obrigado, Porfido, Sir Dave, Spring House, and Transduction Gold.

Black Astor (Sunset Handicap), Midships (Charles Whittingham Handicap) and Spring House (San Luis Obispo Handicap) have won major stakes in Southern California this year.

Midships followed his win in the Whittingham at Hollywood Park on June 6 with a ninth-place finish at 7-2 in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park on July 11. A 4-year-old colt, Midships was based with trainer Bobby Frankel's stable at Saratoga until earlier this month.

Monday at Del Mar, Midships worked six furlongs in 1:12, the third-fastest of 18 recorded works at the distance.

"He went a little quick, but I think the track was fast," said assistant trainer Humberto Ascanio.

The loss in the Man o' War, preceded by wins in the San Luis Rey, San Juan Capistrano and Whittingham, left Ascanio puzzled.

"I don't have an answer for that," he said. "He looks like his old self. I had him before he went to New York, and he looks good."

Thorn Song recuperating

One notable absence from Saturday's Del Mar Mile is Thorn Song, who won the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in May and then bolted on the first turn of the Edie Read Stakes on July 25.

Thorn Song is currently at the Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in Los Olivos, Calif., recovering from severe abscesses in his front feet that have threatened his racing career, trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Mitchell said on Tuesday that he is optimistic that Thorn Song can recover sufficiently to resume training later this year. The Breeders' Cup Mile is not on Thorn Song's schedule, Mitchell said.

"There is a very good chance that he can race again," he said. "It was the worst abscess that I've ever had to deal with. When it finally blew out, it was in both of his heels."

Mitchell said "It will be a while" before Thorn Song resumes training. "We'll probably give him another month to get over everything. We haven't talked about putting the horse in training until he's 100 percent okay. He's headed in that direction."

Sidney's Candy possible for Futurity

Sidney's Candy, who scored a powerful victory against maidens in his second start on Saturday, could come back in the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7, but not before careful evaluation, trainer John Sadler said.

Sadler's concern is that Sidney's Candy would be coming back just 16 days after his win, and would be racing for the third time at the meet. But he won so impressively that the race will at least be considered, Sadler said.

"It's too early to tell," Sadler said. "The thing in his favor is we're here. But I don't want to put any tunnel vision on it. That just builds artificial pressure to run."

Sidney's Candy, a son of Candy Ride, was bred by Jenny Craig and her late husband, Sid, and races for her family's trust.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman