09/04/2014 1:34PM

Masochistic stretches out for inaugural Los Alamitos Mile

Benoit & Associates
Clubhouse Ride, winner of the Grade 2 Californian, is the only millionaire in the Los Alamitos Mile field.

CYPRESS, Calif. – Although he enters uncharted territory Saturday at Los Alamitos, the streaking sprinter Masochistic appears formidable in the inaugural Los Alamitos Mile, a $200,000 race that will be his first time around two turns.

“He’s been crying for a mile,” trainer A.C. Avila said. “I don’t like coming back in two weeks, but he cooled out quickly [after his last race], ate his dinner, and he looks good.”

Masochistic looked very good Thursday in a 6 a.m. gallop at Los Alamitos, which was his first tour of the track after a successful summer. Masochistic extended his winning streak to three by taking successive Del Mar allowance sprints in front-running fashion.

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The lightly raced gelding will try to stretch his speed Saturday against a good field in the Los Alamitos Mile on a card that includes the $75,000 Beverly Lewis Stakes and a work by Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome between races 3 and 4.

Rivals for Masochistic include the millionaire Clubhouse Ride, who misfired in the Pacific Classic, and the stakes winners Soi Phet, Sky Kingdom, and Rock Me Baby. Forward March, Tonito M., Kate’s Event, and Wrightwood also entered the Mile, race 8 on a nine-race card.

Masochistic set the pace in all three sprint wins, and Avila admitted to initial concerns about his ability to run long.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 3 Masochistic. Trainer A.C. Avila is 2 for 8 (and 7 of 8 in the money) with a $3.02 ROI over the past five years going from synthetic to dirt in routes. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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“I wasn’t sure because he wouldn’t relax,” Avila said. “Now, Victor [Espinoza, his rider,] has gotten him to relax.”

The chief pace rival for Masochistic is Forward March, stretching out from sprints and drawn directly outside Masochistic. If he avoids a pace duel, handles a new surface, and carries his speed a route, Masochistic should win.

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Masochistic (Last 3 Beyers: 97-95-99)

* The fastest in the field, Masochistic is the source of controversy. He was ridden passively by Omar Berrio in his March 15 debut, finished fifth, and tested positive for acepromazine. Masochistic won his next start, a maiden race at Churchill Downs, by 14 lengths.

* Victor Espinoza has ridden Masochistic to three consecutive front-running victories. His chances to carry his speed depend largely on the stretch-out sprinter to his outside.

“It will be a jockey’s race,” Avila said.

Clubhouse Ride (Last 3 Beyers: 33-102-104)

* The field’s lone millionaire, Clubhouse Ride has won five races and earned more than $1.3 million from 39 starts. But his most recent start was among the most disappointing in his career. He finished last of 10, beaten 52 lengths by Shared Belief, in the Pacific Classic.

“Joe [Talamo] told me he could not get a hold of the track,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “I’m hoping Joe is right. I’ve never seen a horse train that good and run that bad. For whatever reason, he did not run a step.”

* A return to conventional dirt should benefit Clubhouse Ride, who worked five furlongs Tuesday morning after being placed on the stewards’ list for poor performance.

* Early this year, Clubhouse Ride won the Grade 2 Californian at Santa Anita and finished second in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Talamo is back aboard.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Clubhouse Ride. Trainer Craig Lewis is 3 for 17 with a $2.32 ROI over the past five years going from synthetic to dirt in routes. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

Soi Phet (Last 3 Beyers: 87-94-86)

* A former low-level claiming gelding, Soi Phet became a stakes winner during the summer meet at Los Alamitos, where he won the $101,000 Bertrando Stakes.

* Trained by Leonard Powell, Soi Phet will be ridden Saturday by Kent Desormeaux.

* A horse with tactical speed and established form at Los Alamitos, Soi Phet should get a great trip positioned third behind two speed horses. If the pace backs up, Soi Phet would be in the right spot to pounce.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 Rock Me Baby. Trainer Craig Dollase is 1 for 32 with a $0.13 ROI over the past five years with all horses moving from turf to dirt. Click for more details. Mike Hogan