08/31/2007 12:00AM

Maiden claimer gives big time a try


DEL MAR, Calif. - In the last month, Rafael Becerra has been in the mood to gamble with 2-year-olds.

He was scouting potential claims last month when he came across Drewthegentleman in an $80,000 claimer for maidens. Becerra claimed the colt on behalf of Angela Gates and Frank Scardino.

Despite the modest start to the colt's career, Becerra said he will enter Drewthegentleman in Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs.

"We'll take a shot," he said. "There's really no other place to go and I think he has the potential."

The Grade 1 Futurity is likely to have a field of 11 and is led by the sharp maiden winner Drill Down and the two-time stakes winner Salute the Sarge. Other probable starters are Dixie Chatter, E Z's Gentleman, Georgie Boy, Good Man Dan, Kanan Dume, Leonides, Overextended, and Whatever Whenever.

Drewthegentleman was previously trained by Craig Dollase for Mike Shustek. In his debut on Aug. 3, Drewthegentleman disputed the lead throughout and drew off to win by two lengths over 5 1/2 furlongs.

Becerra said he did not intend to claim Drewthegentleman when he went to the races that day. He had the intention of claiming the race favorite Bond, but changed his mind when he reached the paddock for a prerace inspection.

"I looked at him and looked at his works and I changed my mind right there," Becerra said of Drewthegentleman.

Becerra put in a quick call to Scardino and then proceeded with the claim.

"He said, 'If you like it, take a shot,'" Becerra recalls being told by Scardino.

Bond wound up finishing fifth of seven.

Drewthegentleman worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Wednesday under jockey Alex Solis, who has the mount in the Futurity.

"Solis really liked him," Becerra said. "He does have a lot of talent."

Georgie Boy, who won the Graduation Stakes here on July 25 and was second to Salute the Sarge in the Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 12, worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Friday. The time equaled the quickest of 42 recorded works at the distance.

Jockey Garrett Gomez will ride Georgie Boy for the first time in the Futurity.

Kanan Dume, who will be a longshot, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60. He won a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs on July 18.

First-timer in Debutante

Sweet August Moon is starting her career at the top in Monday's $250,000 Del Mar Debutante. The filly makes her debut in the most unlikely of races, a Grade 1 over seven furlongs.

Trainer Brian Koriner is convinced that Sweet August Moon belongs in the Debutante. He said that some maiden races in Southern California can be just as tough as major stakes.

"If you go in a maiden race, you could hook one of the toughest fillies on the grounds," he said.

Sweet August Moon is one of 14 fillies entered in the Debutante, the championship race of the meeting for 2-year-old fillies. The race is led by Tasha's Miracle, winner of the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 8; The Golden Noodle, who won the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 30; and Treadmill, winner of the CTBA Stakes on July 20.

Sweet August Moon, a $400,000 purchase earlier this year by Legacy Ranch and Shirley MacPherson, has shown the ability to stalk in her workouts, Koriner said.

"We expect her to run good," Koriner said. "I expect her to be in the race to the top of the stretch and then, who knows? I think she'll be in a strong position.

"It's not the perfect scenario. We either run her or we wait all the way to Santa Anita. Even running three-quarters is a little too short for her. She's a big 2-year-old."

Fun Logic eyeing BC Distaff

Fun Logic won her first stakes in Thursday's $104,820 Adoration Handicap, earning a trip to the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 7.

Trainer and co-owner Bill Currin is hoping to use the Lady's Secret as a springboard to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27, but admits that the 4-year-old filly will need to show substantial improvement.

"We need to get to the Lady's Secret first," he said.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Fun Logic ($8.60) rallied from fourth to win the restricted Adoration Handicap by 1o3/4 lengths over Dona Amelia, finishing a mile in 1:39.64. Screen Giant, the 9-5 favorite, was third in the field of seven fillies and mares.

Fun Logic has won 5 of 24 starts and $342,772. The Grade 1 Lady's Secret Stakes will be her graded stakes debut.

Mitchell second all time at Del Mar

The victory by Blue Cay in Thursday's second race gave trainer Mike Mitchell a sweep of the daily double and vaulted him to second in wins all time at Del Mar with 375, trailing only Ron McAnally's 428.

Mitchell, a six-time training champion at Del Mar, said the win had special significance because he passed his mentor, Farrell Jones - an 11-time training champ at Del Mar - and worked briefly for McAnally.

"It was kind of neat," Mitchell said Friday morning. "Just to get to number two is great. I worked for Farrell for 10 years, and I was a pony boy for McAnally. Ronnie's still going, which makes that a tough one to get. But it's easier when you've got claiming horses to run, like me, because you can always find a spot to win."

Mitchell has had another strong summer here. He is tied for fifth in the standings with 10 wins.

"I knew I needed 10 to get to second, so this has been a good meet," Mitchell said. "I love Del Mar. I wish it opened two weeks earlier. I love it here. My horses do good here, I do good here, my wife does good here, my kids do good here, my owners do good here."

Mitchell has been a strong proponent of Del Mar's switch to Polytrack.

"This is the safest track Del Mar's had," he said. "That's the bottom line."

* The owner-breeders Warren Williamson and Robert Zamarripa have joined the board of directors of the Oak Tree Racing Association, which conducts a fall meet annually at Santa Anita.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman