08/29/2006 11:00PM

Genre will miss Del Mar Derby

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Genre, the winner of the Grade 3 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in June, will miss Sunday's $400,000 Del Mar Derby because of a reaction to numerous mosquito bites, trainer Ben Cecil said on Wednesday.

It is the latest setback for the promising 3-year-old, who has won 4 of 13 starts and $198,009 for owners David and Paula Mueller. Genre missed the Virginia Derby in July after becoming ill following his arrival at Colonial Downs.

Cecil keeps Genre in an outdoor pen, which is common in the overcrowded Del Mar barn area. He said the bites occurred earlier this week and that none of his other horses was afflicted.

Genre only walked on Wednesday, and did so gingerly. There is notable swelling in his legs and a noticeable lump on his stomach. Cecil said Genre's condition has improved since the ailment was first detected.

"They look like tree trunks," Cecil said of the colt's legs. "He has bites all over."

Even without Genre, the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf has at least five stakes winners. The race is still expected to feature the stakes winners Bob and John, Lightning Hit, Obrigado, Porto Santo, and Union Avenue, as well as Presidential Cause and Rateau.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he has not committed to starting Bob and John in what would be his debut on turf. There is a possibility that Bob and John could start in Saturday's $100,000 El Cajon Stakes at a mile on dirt, although Baffert has the stakes winners Da Stoops, Point Determined, and Sinister Minister nominated to that race.

The El Cajon is led by Brother Derek, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Brother Derek has not started since the Preakness in May.

Moscow Burning to Solana Beach

Moscow Burning, the runner-up in the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap in her most recent start, will bypass Saturday's $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap in favor of Sunday's $125,000 Solana Beach Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares, trainer Jim Cassidy said.

Cassidy said the decision was made by owner Don Van Kampen, who races under the name Bullseye Racing. Moscow Burning is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup program and therefore would not be eligible for $50,000 of the $200,000 purse in the Palomar. Considering the depth of the Palomar field, Van Kampen has chosen the easier spot.

"The Palomar looks like a helluva race," Cassidy said. "I'm glad he told me Saturday. We were able to work accordingly."

The Solana Beach is run at a mile on turf, a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Grade 2 Palomar. Moscow Burning worked five furlongs on turf on Sunday in 1:01.

Cassidy said that Van Kampen is reluctant to supplement Moscow Burning to the Breeders' Cup program at a cost of $150,000 and make her eligible for the full $200,000 purse in the Palomar. The Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs in November is not a goal for Moscow Burning, who is likely to be retired at year's end. In November, Moscow Burning is more likely to run in the Matriarch Stakes at a mile on turf at Hollywood Park, Cassidy said.

Moscow Burning, 6, has won 11 of 30 starts and $1,385,000.

The Palomar has a safety limit of 10 starters and may oversubscribe. If the race draws more than 10 entries, the 10 highest-weighted fillies and mares would be preferred. Shining Energy is the 120-pound topweight, followed by Mea Domina and Sharp Lisa at 119; Star Parade, 118; Amorama and Island Fashion, 116; Charm the Giant, Polyfirst, Singalong, and Three Degrees, 115; and Berbatim, Bond Deal, and Round Heels, 114.

Some of those nominees may defect to an allowance race on Monday.

Great Hunter breezes in blinkers

Great Hunter, second in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship in July and the Best Pal Stakes here last month, breezed a half-mile in 47.80 seconds on Wednesday, preparing for next Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity.

The Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs is the closing-day feature of this meeting.

Great Hunter worked wearing blinkers and will wear them for the first time in the Del Mar Futurity. In Wednesday's workout, Great Hunter went the first quarter-mile in 24.60 seconds and the last quarter-mile in 23.40, according to trainer Doug O'Neill.

Owned by Paul Reddam, Great Hunter finished three lengths behind Principle Secret in the Grade 2 Best Pal at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 13. Great Hunter closed from sixth and finished a clear second. O'Neill is hopeful that the blinkers will keep Great Hunter closer to the pace.

"I think the blinkers will have him more involved," O'Neill said. "In California, if you're not within striking distance, it's hard to mow them down."

The other probable starters in the Futurity are Horse Greeley, Hot Flame, Prime Ruler, and Stormello.

Principle Secret is being pointed for the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 8, trainer Christopher Paasch said.

Untouched Talent heads Debutante

Monday's $250,000 Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies is led by Untouched Talent, the winner of the Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 5, and the recent maiden winners Jump On In and Point Ashley.

Other probable starters for the seven-furlong race are Fillie by the Sea, Mistical Plan, Pinata, and She's Included.

Pinata, who won the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park in July, was out of training briefly later that month because of fatigue, trainer Peter Miller said. Miller described Pinata's status for the Debutante as "50-50."

Lava Man gets back to training

Lava Man, unbeaten in six stakes this year, has resumed training after being given a week off following his victory in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 20.

Lava Man galloped on Wednesday after jogging on Monday and Tuesday, O'Neill said.

Lava Man, the first horse to win the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic in the same year, is being pointed for the $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Oak Tree on Sept. 30.