09/29/2010 2:17PM

Leaving New York gets class relief in dash


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Leaving New York had a three-race campaign at Del Mar this summer that covered just about every kind of a race a maiden winner could try – a claimer, an optional claimer, and a Grade 1.

Leaving New York was sixth in a $25,000 claimer, won the optional claimer, and was fourth in the Grade 1 Pat O’Brien Stakes. For Friday’s seventh race at Hollywood Park, Leaving New York starts in an allowance race over 6 1/2 furlongs, which trainer Carl O’Callaghan hopes will lead to a start in the $100,000 California Cup Sprint here Oct. 30.

First, O’Callaghan and owner Patrick Sheehy want to see Leaving New York win for the third time in his career. O’Callaghan admits that ambition has gotten the better of his plans with Leaving New York in recent months.

“I think I was more inconsistent with the horse than he was inconsistent with me,” O’Callaghan said. “I think I was rushing him a little bit.”

In the Pat O’Brien Stakes over seven furlongs on Aug. 28, Leaving New York finished 5 3/4 lengths behind El Brujo, never reaching contention.

“We took a shot in the dark,” O’Callaghan said.

On Friday, Leaving New York will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, who was aboard for the win in the optional claimer and the Pat O’Brien.

“He runs well for P-Val,” O’Callaghan said. “He’s still immature.”

Leaving New York is the only horse in Friday’s field with stakes experience this year. The race has drawn a field of eight and is the seventh race on an eight-race program that begins at 1 p.m.

Three of the runners won their last starts – Inverness Cape, Scofield Barracks, and Zulu King.

Inverness Cape scored a sharp win in his debut in a maiden special weight over six furlongs at Del Mar on Sept. 3, leading throughout and winning by 2 3/4 lengths. Trained by Bob Baffert, Inverness Cape was favored that day and will command support Friday.

Scofield Barracks won an optional claimer against statebreds on Aug. 29, his third career win and eighth consecutive appearance against statebreds. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Scofield Barracks is a threat from off the pace.

Zulu King beat maidens at Del Mar on Sept. 3, his first start since last November. The gelding has made three career starts for trainer Bruce Headley.