07/24/2010 3:13PM

Harrington pair hard to separate


DEL MAR, Calif.– Trainer Mike Harrington finished one-two with Swiss Wild Cat and Hi Ho Yodeler in Friday’s $100,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes at Del Mar. But he does not consider the order of finish to be a ranking of his two leading juvenile fillies. When they make an expected return in the $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs on Sept. 1, Harrington said the result could be reversed.

The two have worked together and finished evenly, Harrington said, and there was only a half-length between them in the CTBA Stakes for statebred fillies. Swiss Wild Cat finished along the rail in the stretch, while Hi Ho Yodeler rallied wide.

“You can flip a coin between them,” Harrington said.

Swiss Wild Cat ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.15, but Harrington does not think the pair are just sprinters. “They’ll both finish, so it’s not like they’re speed demons,” he said. “I think if all goes well, we’ll go for the Generous Portion.”

Swiss Wild Cat races for breeder Heinz Steinmann. By Minister Wild Cat, Swiss Wild Cat has won 2 of 5 starts and $118,600.

The CTBA Stakes was delayed approximately 10 minutes after Cookinthisorthat flipped in the gate, and was briefly stuck under the stalls. When the incident occurred, she apparently kicked Vonn Nez, who was also withdrawn at the gate.

Cookinthisorthat was transferred to an equine hospital late Friday evening, requiring stitches to close a wound on her left hind ankle, trainer and co-owner Lewis Cenicola said. A cast may be placed on Cookinthisorthat’s ankle to avoid excessive flexing of the limb that would hinder the stitches, he said.

“It could be 50-50 that she will make it back [to the races],” Cenicola said. “The main thing to worry about is infection.”

Zetcher elected TOC chairman

Arnold Zetcher, who has gained prominence as a Thoroughbred owner in the last decade, was elected chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California on Friday.

Zetcher replaces Marsha Naify, who was not re-elected to the board of directors earlier this summer.

Zetcher, 69, was elected at a meeting of the TOC’s board of directors. In his first directive as chairman, Zetcher said he immediately asked each member to compile a short list of issues they want the organization to tackle in coming months.

“I think we need to focus on some big issues, and not do the little things,” Zetcher said in an interview later in the day. “I think we have an opportunity to make a difference.”

Zetcher said some issues the TOC will address are the ownership structure of racetracks in California, the future of synthetic surfaces and the downward trend in purses.

“I think we can be a strategic, innovative organization,” he said.

Small field expected for Bing Crosby

Zetcher recently acquired the multiple stakes winner El Brujo, who will make his California debut in the $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes on Aug. 1.

El Brujo recently joined trainer Bob Baffert’s stable. The 4-year-old gelding has won 6 of 16 starts and $526,439. Last fall, El Brujo won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park and the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland.

The Grade 1 Bing Crosby, run over six furlongs, will have a small field. The other probable starters include Cost of Freedom, My Summer Slew, and Scenic Blast, and possibly Sky Cape or Smiling Tiger.