Updated on 09/15/2011 12:53PM

Harty, Baffert joust before duel

Benoit & Associates
Tempera, who won the Sorrento Stakes in her last start, was timed in 58.40 seconds for five furlongs in her last workout.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Just moments after Tempera blazed through her final workout for Sunday's Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, the cell phone of her trainer, Eoin Harty, rang. It was Bob Baffert, who trains another top 2-year-old filly, Habibaty, feigning ignorance as to when Tempera was going to work.

"He said he didn't realize that was her," Harty said, laughing. "Bull."

Harty and Baffert are set for a showdown in the Debutante, and both their fillies worked sharply on Tuesday morning at Del Mar. Tempera, who won the Sorrento Stakes in her last start, was timed in 58.40 seconds for five furlongs. Habibaty, who comes off an impressive victory against maidens, covered the same distance in 59.80.

Both fillies worked just after the 9 a.m. renovation break. Habibaty broke off first with exercise rider Dana Barnes. Baffert watched the work from the grandstand box seats, near the finish line.

Directly across the way, from the bleachers near the five-furlong pole, Harty watched Tempera while giving instructions via walkie-talkie to exercise rider Louise Groom. Tempera broke off before the half-mile pole and went out to the seven-furlong pole.

Harty said he was "delighted" with the work. "She's been training like this for three months," he said.

Another likely Debutante starter, Lil Miss Hollywood, also worked Tuesday, covering five furlongs in 58.60 seconds.

Cagney readies for Del Mar BC

Cagney, who has steadily improved since arriving from Brazil and appears to be a main player in Saturday's Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 on Tuesday morning in preparation for that race.

The Del Mar Handicap field should number eight, including Northern Quest, the race's defending champion and one of three horses expected to be entered by trainer Bobby Frankel. Super Quercus and Timboroa also are likely to go for Frankel.

Neil Drysdale on Tuesday said he would run either Fusaichi Zenon or Sestino, but was unlikely to run both.

Divide and conquer

With the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park this year, many California-based trainers, such as Drysdale and Harty, will be sending large contingents of horses to New York for a fall campaign.

Harty on Tuesday morning sent three of his Godolphin Racing Inc. 2-year-olds to Saratoga for races this weekend, including Dubai Edition, a regally bred son of Mr. Prospector and the top turf mare Hatoof. Harty wants desperately to get Dubai Edition onto the turf. He was entered in Thursday's sixth race at Del Mar, a one-mile turf race for maiden 2-year-olds, but he landed on the also-eligible list. So, Harty sent him to Saratoga, believing the opportunities for grass racing are more plentiful there.

Also part of the Godolphin contingent sent to Saratoga is the filly Imperial Gesture, who disappointed in her first start, but whom Harty expects to improve second time out.

Stevens heads East

Jockey Gary Stevens will miss racing at Del Mar on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday because of commitments at Saratoga.

Stevens is taking the day off Thursday to fly to the East Coast. "It's a tough trip to make, because of the connections," said Stevens's agent, Tony Matos. "So he's just going to take Thursday to travel."

On Friday, Stevens rides Under the Rug in the Personal Ensign Handicap for older fillies and mares. Under The Rug finished second in the Delaware Handicap in her last start.

And on Saturday, Stevens rides Point Given in the Travers Stakes.

Tale of two races

Saturday played out like a Dickens novel for trainer Simon Bray at Arlington Park. It was the best of times, when Startac won the Secretariat Stakes, and it was the worst of times, when favored Astra ran last in the Beverly D. Stakes. Both horses returned to Del Mar on Monday afternoon and will be pointed for fall campaigns.

Astra, who is seeking an Eclipse Award as the nation's champion female turf runner, likely will head straight to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, part of the World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park. Plans are less certain for Startac, whom Bray would prefer to keep with 3-year-olds for the time being.

"I knew Astra was in trouble 50 yards out of the gate," Bray said. "She was just bobbling up and down. Startac's race salvaged the day. It was like taking a big painkiller after Astra's race."

* I Love Silver was a possibility for Saturday's Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga, but trainer Dean Greenman elected to keep I Love Silver here because he was not satisfied with the results of a blood test. "He had a routine flu shot a few days ago, and sometimes it affects them," Greenman said. "The horse has to come first."

* Baffert for the past few days was being trailed by a camera crew for the show "Behind Closed Doors," which is hosted by Joan Lunden on A&E. Lunden followed Baffert through a day at the races Monday, culminating with the victory by the 2-year-old colt Ecstatic in that day's featured allowance race.

* Blue Grass Stakes winner Millennium Wind, who has not raced since the Kentucky Derby, worked a half-mile in 49.80 seconds Tuesday morning as he begins to prepare for his comeback.

Go to Del Mar coverage.