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Injury puts Cindago's career in doubt
Cindago sustained a tendon injury Monday in a workout at Santa Anita and will not run in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby on Saturday at Hoosier Park. The injury also jeopardizes his racing career.
Cindago will be out at least six months, said trainer John Sadler.
"We're not calling it retirement, but it is a bad injury," said Sadler.
A stakes-winning 3-year-old by Indian Charlie, Cindago was both brilliant and fragile. In his second start Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, he won a maiden race over subsequent stakes winners Point Determined and Latent Heat, earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. However, Cindago fractured a knee Jan. 14 in a five-furlong workout.
Ambitiously placed Sept. 2 in his comeback at Del Mar, Cindago scored a front-running win in his first start around two turns, the $100,000 El Cajon Stakes at a mile. He won the El Cajon by a half-length with a 100 Beyer. Brother Derek finished six lengths back in fourth.
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable, Cindago would have been favored Saturday in the $500,000 Indiana Derby. He was among the leading prospects for the Strub Series for 4-year-olds in winter at Santa Anita.
This time Giacomo works fast
Giacomo is not a fast work horse, so it was surprising that he posted a bullet workout Monday at Santa Anita, blazing six furlongs in 1:11.40.
"It was faster [than normal]," said trainer John Shirreffs. But was the fast work good? "It was necessary," Shirreffs said, because of a Sept. 24 workout that was too slow (1:17.40).
Giacomo will make the penultimate start of his career Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Goodwood Handicap at 1 1/8 miles, which is headed by Horse of the Year candidate Lava Man. Shirreffs said he hopes the Goodwood unfolds differently than the Pacific Classic, which Lava Man won and in which Giacomo finished fifth.
"The race didn't set up well," Shirreffs said. "[Giacomo] was stuck inside, with Perfect Drift outside him. When you're going head and head, it's never good for a horse that wants to drop the bit and come from behind."
At least five are expected to run in the Goodwood, a prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic: Lava Man, who was assigned 126 pounds, Giacomo (118), Preachinatthebar (117), Super Frolic (117), and Brother Derek (115).
Bob Baffert, the trainer of Preachinatthebar, scouted his Goodwood opposition Tuesday at Hollywood Park.
"I saw Lava Man, and my God he looked good," said Baffert. "I wish I would not have seen him."
Horse Greeley tunes up for Norfolk
Horse Greeley, the winner of the Del Mar Futurity, accentuated his role as favorite for the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes on Sunday with a bullet five-furlong workout Tuesday at Santa Anita in 58.60 seconds.
"He went a little too fast, but he did it easy," said trainer Richard Mandella. "He's a big, healthy colt, and [the fast work] just tells how good he is doing."
At 1 1/16 miles, the Norfolk will be the first start around two turns for Horse Greeley, who is sufficiently seasoned despite having had just three starts. Mandella said Horse Greeley has "worked behind horses, had dirt in his face, gone slow, and gone fast. He knows the difference between first gear and third gear."
The Norfolk might be the most competitive stakes of the weekend, with at least seven expected to start. Trainer Bill Currin called an audible Tuesday and kept Del Mar Futurity third-place finisher Stormello home for the Norfolk instead of shipping to Keeneland for the Breeders' Futurity.
Asked if Stormello, a sprinter, can get two turns, Currin said, "It's an unknown, same as all the others. None of us know, because none of us have been."
The only horse who has won a route race around two turns is Malt Magic, an impressive Del Mar maiden winner.
Also in the field for the Norfolk are Principle Secret, Black Seventeen, Spot the Diplomat, and Sunshine Ridge.
Zanzibar set for his return
Bordonaro and Pure as Gold are the principal starters Saturday in the Grade 1, $250,000 Ancient Title at six furlongs, but the field is beginning to grow. Four others are being considered: Fast Parade, Jungle Prince, Spellbinder, and Zanzibar.
Zanzibar would be racing for the first time since he finished second in last year's Ancient Title. He was sidelined with a hock injury, but a bullet gate work Monday in 58 seconds suggests he is ready.
"I wish I had one more week and that this race wasn't so tough, but when they're good you have to run them," said trainer John Sadler.
Spellbinder won a Grade 3 route race last month at Golden Gate and is nominated to the Goodwood, but trainer Richard Mandella said he believes the Ancient Title could unfold in favor of Spellbinder's closing style.
"He's nice and fresh, and there's so much speed that he would fall back and finish," Mandella said, adding that Spellbinder "is jumping out of his skin now."
Jungle Prince won the Governor's Cup last out at Fairplex Park. Fast Parade won a turf sprint in his comeback at Del Mar. Siren Lure's status for the Ancient Title is undetermined. Too Much Bling will train up to the BC Sprint, according to his trainer, Baffert.
Garcia back from injuries
Jockey Martin Garcia began working horses Sunday, his first activity since he injured his right wrist and shoulder in a spill Aug. 28 at Del Mar. Doctors gave him clearance to resume riding Oct. 10, but Garcia is serving a suspension that ends Oct. 19.
Garcia was the second-leading rider at Del Mar. His five-pound apprenticeship ends Nov. 5. Garcia's agent, Rogelio Olguin, will apply for a 17-day extension of Garcia's apprentice allowance because of the injury. The extension would allow Garcia to claim the five-pound break through Nov. 22.
* Aragorn is expected to be odds-on in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday. European import Lord Admiral looms a threat. A 5-year-old, Lord Admiral has placed in seven of his last eight group races overseas, and has won 2 of 25. He is stabled with trainer Paddy Gallagher and will be ridden by Alex Solis. Wild Buddy and Aragorn are the only other two confirmed starters.