07/31/2010 2:13PM

Gaines quietly celebrates three-win night at Del Mar


DEL MAR, Calif. – By dusk on Friday, trainer Carla Gaines was out of energy. She had won three races on the eight-race card that evening, including the $125,000 Cougar II Handicap with Temple City, and a night at home with friends sounded more appealing than a night out in Del Mar.

“We fixed a few cocktails and ordered pizza,” she said. And that is how stakes-winning trainers celebrate these days.

A few hours before the impromptu house party, Gaines hit the late double with Temple City and the maiden claimer No Stadium. Though the values of the races were substantially different, they were both meaningful.

Temple City won his first stakes in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar, earning an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Marathon at Churchill Downs in November, subject to the payment of entry fees. Temple City races for owner-breeder B. Wayne Hughes.

“Winning it with a homebred, that means a lot,” Gaines said.

No Stadium won a maiden claimer for Warren Williamson, who had a birthday on Friday. Williamson did not attend Friday’s race – he watched with family from home - but Gaines talked to Williamson’s son.

“His son told me he had tears in his eyes,” Gaines said. “That meant a lot to me.”

Gaines also won a maiden race with Cee’s Pryme earlier on the program.

Temple City ran 1 1/2 miles on the main track in record time of 2:30.46, although the distance is run sparingly on Del Mar’s Polytrack synthetic surface. Ridden by Joe Talamo, Temple City ($4.40) set a slow pace of 25.61 and 50.53 seconds for the first half-mile, ran six furlongs in 1:16.19, and maintained a comfortable lead, winning by 3 1/4 lengths over Unusual Suspect.

Richard’s Kid, a slight favorite at 11-10, could only manage third, after tracking Temple City in third place.

Temple City could start in the $1 million Pacific Classic over 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 28, Gaines said.

“At 5, he’s a different horse this year,” she said. “It seems odd to say, but last year he hadn’t matured yet.”

P. Val gets first win since coming back west

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela won Friday’s sixth race on Warren’s Jitterbug, his first victory since he resumed riding in California on Wednesday.

Valenzuela, 47, regained a jockey’s license in California from the state racing board on July 22, having lost his previous license in December 2007 following an arrest for drunk driving. He had ridden primarily in Louisiana in recent years.

The new license requires extensive drug testing and treatment for alcoholism for the jockey, who has a history of substance abuse problems.

Warren’s Jitterbug was Valenzuela’s eighth mount of the week. He rallied wide through the stretch of the turf race, and reached the front in the final strides, winning by a half-length. As Warren’s Jitterbug galloped out after the wire, Valenzuela celebrated by pumping his first.

Asked what the win meant, he responded by saying, “You don’t even know.”

While Valenzuela has a winner, he is not expected to contend for the riding title. Through Friday, Joel Rosario led the jockey’s standings with 13 wins.

Two Californians headed to W. Va. Derby

Concord Point, the winner of the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 26 in his last start, worked six furlongs in 1:13 on Saturday for an expected start in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Racetrack on Aug. 7.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Kaleem Shah, Concord Point has won 3 of 5 starts and $226,760. At least two California-based 3-year-olds are probable for the West Virginia Derby. The race is also on the schedule of Skipshot, the winner of the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 17.