07/06/2011 3:05PM

Hollywood Park: Boxeur des Rues stepping up for Swaps Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Coil is among the favorites for Saturday's Grade 2 Swaps at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The last time that Boxeur des Rues ran on the main track at Hollywood Park, he failed to complete the course.

On the turn of the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes last October, Boxeur des Rues bolted under jockey Rafael Bejarano and was pulled up. The same drama is not expected when Boxeur des Rues starts in Saturday’s $150,000 Swaps Stakes, the top race of the meeting for 3-year-olds.

“It was a one-time incident,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “I think it correlated with the rider striking him on the shoulder. He’d never had that. He’s never given us any problems since that day.”

What may be a problem for Boxeur des Rues in the Grade 2 Swaps is the presence of Coil and Runflatout, the first two finishers of the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap here June 11. They will dominate the betting in a Swaps field of six that includes Dreamy Kid, Spud Spivens, and Uncle Sam.

Coil, who has won his last three starts, is the only stakes winner in the field, but he is not a horse that scares O’Neill.

“We think Coil and Runflatout have us to deal with us, too,” he said. “We’re thinking we’re every bit as talented, but we have to see it in the afternoon.”

Boxeur des Rues won an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf May 30, his second career win in five starts. He was a maiden race winner on the synthetic track at Kempton Park in England last September before joining O’Neill’s stable. Owner Paul Reddam and O’Neill could start Boxeur des Rues in the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes on turf at Del Mar on July 20, but are opting for the more prestigious Grade 2 Swaps Stakes, which is run over 1 1/8 miles.

“Paul and I have discussed how talented this colt is,” O’Neill said. “Are we thinking that he’s a graded horse? Yes. Here’s a Grade 2 in our own backyard on a track we’ve trained on. Let’s see what we’ve got.”

Blind Luck works toward Del Cap

Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, breezed a half-mile in 1:01 on Wednesday, moving closer to an expected start in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 16.

Blind Luck was nominated for Saturday’s Gold Cup, but she was not entered. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he is leaning toward a start in the Delaware Handicap in favor of the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 6.

“We want to run at Delaware, but she did run well at Del Mar,” Hollendorfer said. “You’ve got to kind of run for the purse.”

Blind Luck won the Delaware Oaks last July at Delaware Park, beating Havre de Grace, who is expected to be the favorite in the Delaware Handicap.

Abrams has surgery for cancer

Trainer Barry Abrams underwent successful surgery in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday for treatment of a recurrence of throat cancer, according to owner-breeder Madeline Auerbach.

Abrams, 57, is expected to remain hospitalized until the weekend and will continue his recovery at home, said Auerbach, who has partnered with Abrams as an owner and breeder. Abrams is expected to miss the first half of the Del Mar meeting while recovering. Del Mar runs from July 20 to Sept. 7.

“Toward the end of the meeting, he might get down there,” Auerbach said. “I couldn’t tell you the number of calls and texts we’ve had.”

Abrams’s assistant, Richard Baltas, will direct the stable. Baltas has trained on his own in the past, winning the 2001 Goodwood Handicap with Freedom Crest.

◗ Caracortado, second to Courageous Cat in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile last Saturday, is likely to return for the $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes on turf at Del Mar on July 23, trainer Mike Machowsky said Wednesday.