10/10/2008 11:00PM

Mast Track opts for Dirt Mile


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mast Track, winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup in June, will start in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Oct. 25 and not the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on the same day, trainer Bobby Frankel said Saturday.

Frankel said the entries and starting fees of the two races and the distances were the main factors in his decision.

"I don't want to put up $100,000 to run in the Classic," he said.

Frankel owns Mast Track.

To start in the Classic, horses must be pre-entered for $50,000 on Tuesday, with an additional $75,000 entry fee due Oct. 21. To start in the BC Dirt Mile, the fees are $10,000 for a pre-entry and $15,000 for an entry.

Then, there is the distance and competition factor. Mast Track would be facing a tough field in the Classic, led by reigning Horse of the Year Curlin and Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Big Brown. The top contender for the Dirt Mile is Well Armed, who won the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes here over 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 27.

Mast Track has won over the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles - in the Gold Cup - but has lost his last two races, finishing third in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24 and eighth in the Goodwood.

"He's run good races, his numbers are good," Frankel said. "He might be coming from off the pace a little bit" in the Dirt Mile.

Mast Track worked a half-mile in 49.20 seconds at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Frankel also worked Ginger Punch a half-mile in 48.60 seconds.

"She looked like she did well," Frankel said of the workout.

A winner of 12 of 21 starts, Ginger Punch was second by a half-length to Cocoa Beach in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 27. Ginger Punch is bound for the BC Ladies' Classic, formerly known as the BC Distaff, on Oct. 24.

Stardom Bound still improving

Stardom Bound, the leading 2-year-old filly in California, has improved since her win in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes on Sept. 27, trainer Christopher Paasch said. He is anxious to prove that point when she starts in the BC Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 24.

"I know people are going to say, sure that's him talking, but she seems to be getting better and better," he said. "When we first started taking her to the big track, when she was just getting started, she'd never seen horses gallop at her and she'd look at all the horses gallop by.

"She's really mentally getting stronger. Arguably, she seems to keep growing."

Saturday at Hollywood Park, Stardom Bound breezed five furlongs in 59.80 seconds. Paasch timed Stardom Bound in 59.40 seconds.

"I wanted her to get out there and stretch and get some wind," he said. "The track was a little quick this morning."

Stardom Bound will be seeking her third Grade 1 win in the BC Juvenile Fillies, having won the Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1.

Coronet of a Baron to supplement to BC

Coronet of a Baron, second by a nose in the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3, will be supplemented to the BC Juvenile on Oct. 25, trainer Eoin Harty said Saturday.

Owned by Darley Stud, Coronet of a Baron was held out of the Norfolk Stakes on Sept. 28 to give him more time between the Del Mar Futurity and the BC Juvenile. The layoff "seems to have done him well," Harty said.

Harty said he has little concern about Cornet of a Baron trying 1 1/16 miles for the first time in the BC Juvenile.

"When I was getting him to settle and relax, he picked it up instantaneously," he said.

Elle Pickle likely back at same level

Elle Pickle, the comfortable winner of a second-level allowance race at Santa Anita on Friday, may return in the exact same kind of race. Trainer Steve Knapp realized Saturday that Elle Pickle ran one level over her condition Friday.

A 6-year-old mare, Elle Pickle entered the race with two career wins - a maiden race and an allowance race in New Zealand - but the allowance race paid less than $7,500 to the winner and did not count against Elle Pickle's allowance-race eligibility under California's racing conditions. Horses must earn a winner's share of $7,500 or more to lose a level of allowance-race eligibility.

As a result, Elle Pickle can return in a "two other than" and not a "three other than," which are often difficult to fill in California.

Eventually, Knapp would like to try Elle Pickle in a stakes. In Friday's race, Elle Pickle rallied from last in a field of five to win the allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf by 1 3/4 lengths.

"She can really run," he said.

Cost of Freedom drills quick half-mile

The fastest half-mile workout at Santa Anita on Saturday was recorded by Cost of Freedom, who was timed in 46.60 seconds. The winner of the Ancient Title Stakes here Sept. 27, Cost of Freedom is a candidate for the BC Sprint on Oct. 25.

* Curlin galloped 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita on Saturday. He is scheduled to work between the fourth and fifth races during Monday's nine-race program.