07/23/2008 11:00PM

Johnny Eves starts second half


DEL MAR, Calif. - Johnny Eves returns from a three-month break in Sunday's $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap over six furlongs at Del Mar. The Crosby is far from trainer Jay Robbins's goal for Johnny Eves in the second half of the year.

Even though Johnny Eves has won a Grade 1 sprint - the Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita last December - Robbins has the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 25 as a long-term goal.

Robbins should not be underestimated in his ability to point for a race with an important horse. In 2001, he brought Tiznow back from a springtime injury for a fall campaign that ended with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park.

Johnny Eves has not started since finishing fourth against statebreds in the Tiznow Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 27. Robbins warned before that race that Johnny Eves was in need of a break, and he gave the 4-year-old gelding a 30-day vacation after the loss. In recent weeks, Johnny Eves has impressed Robbins with his training.

"He's working better than he did before he was sent out," Robbins said. "He's working like he did last winter."

Still, Robbins isn't sure Johnny Eves can win the Bing Crosby. The Grade 1 race has drawn a strong field, including top California sprinter Street Boss, who has won his last four starts, and defending champion In Summation.

That has left Robbins with a long-term perspective.

"I think he'd have to be awful fast to beat those horses," Robbins said. "I think he wants to go longer, but I've got to get a race into him."

Babs Moossa wins second stakes

Babs Moossa, who won a $12,500 claiming race for maidens in June, will attempt to win his third consecutive stakes in the $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for statebred 2-year-olds here on Sept. 1.

Babs Moossa won the $136,000 Graduation Stakes for 2-year-old statebreds at Del Mar on Wednesday. On July 12, Babs Moossa won the Solano County Juvenile Stakes at Vallejo on the Northern California fair circuit.

In the Graduation, Babs Moossa ($8.80) ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.70, rallying from fifth to catch 7-5 favorite Triumphant Flight by a nose in the final strides. The victory was the first stakes win of the meeting for jockey Garrett Gomez, who had two victories on the day.

"He's a big horse and he's learning," Gomez said. "I had to work to get him to change leads, but once he did, he came running. I thought I was going to go on by and win by a length and a half, but once he got up next to that other horse he waited on him a little bit."

Owned by breeder Ted Aroney and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Babs Moossa has won 3 of 5 starts and $132,450. Babs Moossa was sixth and second in maiden claimers at Golden Gate Fields before winning a $12,500 claiming race for maidens at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton on June 25.

Campos cleared to ride after spill

Jockey Jose Campos was hospitalized briefly Wednesday after being unseated from his mount in the sixth race. Campos, 20, was released from the hospital Wednesday and was cleared to ride Thursday, according to his agent, Rogelio Olguin.

Campos was aboard No Ka Oi in a one-mile turf race for $62,500 claimers when the mare appeared to clip heels shortly after the start. Campos was removed from the track on a stretcher.

Campos's apprentice claim ended Friday. At the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting earlier this year, he finished ninth in the standings with 20 wins.

Speight of Halo gets challenge

Speight of Halo has the confidence of trainer Eoin Harty when he makes his second start in a six-furlong maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds in Saturday's seventh race.

"There's no reason he shouldn't run a bang-up race," Harty said. "It will take a good one to beat him."

The problem is that Harty may have identified such a challenger. Speight of Halo was second in his debut at Hollywood Park on June 29. The third-place finisher of that race, Street Hero, has attracted attention since that race. Trained by owner-breeder Myung Kwon Cho, Street Hero worked five furlongs in 58.40 seconds last Sunday, the fastest of 54 recorded works at the distance.

"Apparently, his work the other day was sensational," Harty said of Street Hero.

If Street Hero is not sensational Saturday, Harty thinks that Speight of Halo can win. A Speightstown colt, Speight of Halo is a candidate for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3 if he wins Saturday.

"I hope he pans out that way," Harty said.

The race has drawn a field of 12, including Fassnacht, who was third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 5 in his fourth start, and Chocolate Candy, who was a troubled sixth in his debut on May 22.

Chocolate Candy has since worked quickly over six furlongs for Hollendorfer.

"I'll be really surprised if he doesn't run a good race," assistant trainer Dan Ward said. "It seems like he's figured out what he's supposed to do."

Wagering services taking phone bets

Limited telephone wagering on Del Mar's races is being conducted through the Xpressbet and Twinspires account-wagering services this meet, according to Drew Couto, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

Internet wagering on Del Mar races is restricted to TVG and Youbet.com through an exclusive contract that ends this year. For nine months, from the start of the Hollywood Park fall meeting in 2007 through the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting that ended on July 13, four account-wagering services licensed in California were able to take bets via telephone and the Internet - TVG, Twinspires, Xpressbet, and Youbet.

The experiment was not continued for the current Del Mar meeting but customers in some states are able to bet on Del Mar through Xpressbet and Twinspires's telephone systems, Couto said.

The TOC is the state's official representative for horsemen and is involved in contract negotiations regarding account wagering.