07/29/2005 11:00PM

Indian Breeze sharp for Sorrento


DEL MAR, Calif. - Sporting a four-inch scar from a stall accident, Indian Breeze overcame two weeks of missed training to spring an upset in the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park last month.

She will not be overlooked in Saturday's $150,000 Sorrento Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar. Even better for owner Bill Peeples and trainer Adam Kitchingman, the month since the Landaluce has been without incident. One of the highlights was a five-furlong workout in 59 seconds on Friday.

"She came back to work well yesterday," Kitchingman said on Saturday.

In early June, shortly after winning a maiden race, Indian Breeze suffered a puncture wound to her stomach caused by an accident in her stall. The four-inch injury required stitches, Kitchingman said.

In late June, it was touch-and-go as to whether Indian Breeze would make the Landaluce.

"We were concerned about getting her to the race," Kitchingman said. "We missed two weeks of training. She got through it."

Unbeaten in two starts, Indian Breeze will face a tougher field in the Grade 3 Sorrento, which is run over 6 1/2 furlongs.

The early list of probable starters includes Diplomat Lady, Hystericalady, Inverness, and Mystery Girl.

Hystericalady is unbeaten in two starts, including a win in the Jose Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton on July 2. Mystery Girl, third in the Landaluce Stakes as a maiden, returned to win a maiden race by four lengths here on July 23.

The other major stakes next weekend is Sunday's $300,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles. Alphabet Kisses, who won the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 9, and Girl Warrior, unraced since winning the Grade 2 El Encino in January, are the top candidates.

Former trainer, jockey and agent McClellan dies

Ronald H. McClellan, a former jockey, trainer and jockey's agent nicknamed "Chick," died on Friday of a heart attack at his Arcadia, Calif., home.

McClellan, 86, had been retired from racing for more than 20 years.

As a trainer, one of his major accomplishments was winning the 1954 Westerner Stakes at Hollywood Park with Fault Free, who beat Determine. The Westerner Stakes is now known as the Hollywood Derby.

As a jockey's agent, McClellan represented such riders as Joe Baze, Bill Hartack, Alvaro Pineda, Ray Sibille, and Fernando Toro.

"He never represented [Laffit] Pincay, but he wanted to have him," according to his son, Scotty McClellan, the agent for jockeys David Flores and Alex Solis.

According to Scotty, Chick McClellan began his involvement in racing as a stable employee at 15 before becoming an exercise rider and a jockey.

"He was so small that when he went to the backstretch someone nicknamed him Chick," Scotty McClellan said.

Chick McClellan once recalled with vivid recollection a race he rode at Arlington Park in which he beat Eddie Arcaro by a nose. Scotty McClellan recalled that his father remembered the moment several decades later with remarkable clarity, including the race number and the breeding lines of the horses involved. "He had an unbelievable memory," Scotty said.

In recent years, Chick McClellan followed racing at Santa Anita.

He is survived by his wife, Maxine; three children - Scotty, Ron, and Ronna - and nine grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The funeral will be private, Scotty McClellan said. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made in Chick McClellan's honor to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund.

Birthday, baby, stakes win: Yakteen hits a trifecta

Fortunately gave trainer Tim Yakteen his first stakes win at Del Mar, on his 41st birthday, in Friday's $76,225 Daisycutter Handicap. The win came two days after Yakteen and his wife, Millie, celebrated the birth of their first child, Sam, a son.

Fortunately ($14.60) stalked pacesetter Bella Banissa to early stretch before taking the lead and drawing off to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Fortunately, 4, finished five furlongs on turf in 55.48 seconds over a course that has played fast throughout the brief meeting.

Abounding Truth finished second, edging 3-2 favorite Bella Banissa.

Owned by Jerry Jamgotchian, Fortunately has won 4 of 21 starts and $142,231. Yakteen said Fortunately was perfectly suited to the Daisycutter distance, having failed to win over longer distances since arriving from England in late 2003.

Yakteen has kept his stable at Santa Anita this summer to remain close to his family. The tradeoff is long drives to Del Mar.

Yakteen said it took him more than four hours to commute on Interstate-5 from Santa Anita to Del Mar on Friday afternoon, evidence of severe traffic from weekend vacationers. Yakteen took a different route Saturday, Interstate 15, but said it wasn't much better.

Next time, he's coming via train. "I think Amtrak has found a new customer," he said.