08/28/2006 11:00PM

Injuries end Garcia's meeting

Reed Palmer Photography
Record, shown winning the Derby Trial in April, will try and break a two-race losing streak at Del Mar Thursday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Apprentice jockey Martin Garcia has made quite an impression at Del Mar this summer. He has racked up 35 wins, putting him second in the jockey standings behind the defending champion, Victor Espinoza. And he has racked up 25 days in suspensions from Del Mar's stewards for several careless riding infractions.

On Monday, Garcia got racked up himself. He took a hard fall soon after the start of the day's sixth race, and though he escaped without any fractures, he suffered a bruised right wrist and pulled muscle in his right shoulder, injuries that will keep him out of action for the rest of the meet, which closes Sept. 6.

Earlier Monday, Garcia - along with his agent, Roger Olguin, and attorney, Bing Bush - had agreed with the stewards to a resolution of his suspensions, all of which Garcia had appealed. The agreement, which reduced the accrued time of his suspensions from 25 days to 22 days, calls for Garcia to sit out the final five days of Del Mar, beginning Friday, and then the first 17 days of Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, which begins Sept. 27.

Garcia, however, would have been able to ride in designated stakes races at the end of Del Mar, so his injuries sent jockey agents scrambling to pick up his business. Alex Solis was scheduled to ride in place of Garcia in Wednesday's featured Generous Portion Stakes, on Ces't Mark, the likely favorite. Garcia also was scheduled to ride Untouched Talent, the Sorrento Stakes winner, in Monday's Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante.

Garcia was injured when his mount, Valiant Blues, appeared to clip the heels of Sea Driver soon after the start of the sixth race and stumbled. Garcia tumbled over Valiant Blue's head and landed heavily. He was prone, a few yards in front of the finish, and track workers quickly got Garcia onto a stretcher and out of harm's way, allowing the race to be completed without interruption.

Del Mar stewards Grant Baker, Scott Chaney, and George Slender agreed to reduce Garcia's total suspension by three days in exchange for Garcia immediately dropping his appeals.

"We were glad the matter was resolved this year as opposed to going until 2007," Baker said.

Baker said the stewards insisted Garcia serve his days at either Del Mar or Oak Tree, and not during the Fairplex meeting at Pomona or at Golden Gate, where Garcia intends to ride between Del Mar and Oak Tree.

"We wanted him to serve like days," said Baker. "Fairplex was out of the question, because it's not like days, and we felt Golden Gate was not like days."

Olguin said he was happy to put the matter behind him and Garcia.

"If we didn't take the days, they'd probably send him to San Quentin," he said.

Garcia was facing additional potential sanctions after his horse Symphony Sid was disqualified from fifth to seventh in the Del Mar Handicap on Sunday, but Baker said, "We placed the blame on the horse."

Outstanding undercard race

Thursday's card at Del Mar, headlined by the Adoration Handicap, also includes a second-level allowance sprint that brings out stakes winners Bro Lo, Record, and Smokey Stover. The race, the third on the card, is at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Bro Lo, unbeaten on the dirt here last year, recently returned from an 11-month layoff and suffered his first defeat in a sprint race on turf. He won the I'm Smokin Stakes last summer, defeating Brother Derek.

Record won the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs in April. He has lost twice since then, most recently finishing third in a similar second-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs on July 27.

Smokey Stover was second in the July 27 allowance, which was his first start since he captured the Stinson Beach Stakes at Golden Gate on April 2. He is trained by Greg Gilchrist, owned by Harry Aleo, and ridden by Russell Baze, the same connections as last year's Eclipse Award-winning sprinter, Lost in the Fog.

Weighty matters, more or less

In Sunday's Del Mar Handicap, for big, strong older grass horses, the highweight was T.H. Approval, at 120 pounds. In Wednesday's Generous Portion Stakes, for young 2-year-old fillies, the highweight was Ces't Mark, at 124 pounds. Of the eight fillies entered in the Generous Portion, seven carried more weight than seven of the 10 older horses in the Del Mar Handicap. If you think that's absurd, so do the guys who assigned the weights.

"It's a little askew, isn't it?" said Rick Hammerle, Del Mar's assistant racing secretary, who, along with racing secretary Tom Robbins, oversees the racing program at Del Mar. "Remember, one's a handicap, and one's a stakes. There's been talk - and so far, it's just talk - that we need to come up with a fair way to raise the bottom of handicap races nationally. But it has to be done nationally to work, or else other jurisdictions use low weights to get your horses to come there.

"We have horses in graded stakes carrying less weight than horses who just broke their maiden. There needs to be a national scale. I think we could be headed that way. If we had a bottom for each grade and worked up from that, I think we'd be on the right track. There's no doubt in my mind that Grade 1 horses need to carry more weight."

Garden of Stars impresses

Garden of Stars, a 2-year-old filly, could be headed straight to stakes races following a dazzling debut Sunday, when she romped to a 4 1/4-length victory for trainer Jeff Mullins.

"She's going to be all right," Mullins said with a big grin. "My first-timers usually don't fire like that. That says quite a bit for her. The last filly I had that did that was second in the Breeders' Cup."

Mullins was referring to Wild Fit, who captured her debut at Del Mar, then came back on short rest to take the Del Mar Debutante before going on to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Garden of Stars, however, will not be wheeled back in just eight days for the Debutante.

"I think she's a talented filly," Mullins said. "We can run her wherever we want to now."

Garden of Stars, a Golden Eagle Farm homebred owned by Betty Mabee and her son, Larry, is by Grand Slam.

What's in a name?

Hyperbaric, who won his debut Sunday against older maidens, is trained by Julio Canani. Last year, Canani trained Sweet Catomine, the Marty Wygod-owned horse who in 2004 was the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly.

But Canani had a falling out with Wygod after Sweet Catomine ran poorly in the Santa Anita Derby, and it was subsequently revealed that Sweet Catomine had spent some time away from the track earlier that week, including being treated in a hyperbaric chamber near Wygod's farm, which is about 2 1/2 hours from Santa Anita.

Hyperbaric, a colt by Sky Classic, is owned by Prestonwood Farm.

* Apprentice jockey Michael Baze begins a three-day suspension on Thursday for careless riding aboard Stevie D. in last Wednesday's third race.

* Jump on In, a romping debut winner who should be one of the leading candidates in the Del Mar Debutante, worked six furlongs in 1:13.60 on Tuesday morning at Del Mar for trainer John Sadler.

* Union Avenue, who is scheduled to run in the Grade 1 Del Mar Derby on Sunday for trainer Bill Mott, arrived here safely Monday night after a flight from Kentucky, assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy said Tuesday.

* Heading into the final seven days of the meet, Doug O'Neill leads Mullins 16-14 in the trainers' standings.