Updated on 09/15/2011 12:56PM

A McCarron turnaround?

Benoit & Associates
El Corredor, winner of the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap on Aug. 12 , will be the favorite in Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap.

DEL MAR, Calif. - There is enough time remaining in the Del Mar meeting for Chris McCarron to salvage a disappointing season.

Through Monday, McCarron had four winners at Del Mar and was not among the top 10 in the jockey standings. In addition, he had yet to win a stakes, which is typically his strength, considering his alliance with many top barns.

"It's been slow," McCarron said in the stables on Wednesday between workout assignments. "It's been disappointing, but not devastating."

Many of the stables that McCarron rides for are not having strong meetings. Trainers Ron Ellis and Jenine Sahadi have each won twice, while Ron McAnally and David Hofmans have one winner apiece. Paco Gonzalez has not started many horses.

Worse, McCarron's out-of-town trips have not been successful. He fell from Starrer when she stumbled at the start of the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park on July 21. Two weeks ago, Bienamado, McCarron's top turf horse, was a well-beaten favorite in the Arlington Million.

This weekend, McCarron has two mounts that could turn things around.

On Saturday, he rides Came Home in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. On Monday, he has the mount on Romanceishope in a competitive Del Mar Derby. Looking farther ahead, he rides Starrer and Tiznow in major stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 8 and Printemps in the Ruffian Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 15.

Came Home may be his best chance this weekend. Trained by Gonzalez, Came Home won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 15, but the accomplishment has been overshadowed in recent weeks by the development of Officer, a two-time stakes winner at Del Mar.

"I think that happens with a lot of division dominators," McCarron said of Officer's national status. "I think a lot of 3-year-olds are being blown off because of Point Given. But it's not like that in the eyes of their connections."

McCarron has traveled to Gonzalez's stable at Santa Anita to work Came Home in recent weeks, and he believes that the colt can end the summer's season with a big win.

"He's doing excellent," McCarron said. "It would be great to end it on a high note."

Dr. Park likely Del Mar Derby favorite

McCarron worked Romanceishope a half-mile in 49.40 seconds on Wednesday. Second in the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap as the favorite on Aug. 11, Romanceishope will not be the top choice in what is all but certain to be a 10-horse field for the Del Mar Derby.

The probables include Bayou the Moon, Blue Steller, Dr. Park, Euribor, Indygo Shiner, Marine, Sigfreto, Sir Alfred and Sligo Bay.

Sligo Bay, winner of the Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park in June but fourth in the American Derby at Arlington Park in July, worked a half-mile on turf in 48.80 seconds.

Dr. Park, unraced since winning a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 18, may go off favored.

Trainer Bobby Frankel nominated four horses - Blue Steller, Marine, Mizzen Mast, and No Slip - and is certain to have Marine in the field. Of the other three, he said Wednesday that he would most prefer to start Blue Steller, who is in a precarious situation regarding earning a starting berth.

The Del Mar Derby field is determined by a system in which Oceanside winners are preferred, followed by the winners of graded or group stakes or horses who have placed in such races.

Blue Steller is only a maiden winner, and held the 10th eligibility position as of Wednesday. He could be bumped if a more qualified horse joins the field.

Frankel has been hoping to run Blue Steller in the Derby since he won his maiden in his U.S. debut by six lengths.

El Corredor's feet are fit

El Corredor, winner of the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Handicap on Aug. 12 in his only start of the year, will be the favorite in Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Trainer Bob Baffert considered El Corredor for the Vosburgh Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 22, but has opted to stay at home. He said El Corredor's feet, which have been bothered by quarter cracks in the last year, are in good shape. "I'm going to run here," Baffert said. "I have to run him now because his feet are in good shape."

El Corredor is the 121-pound starting highweight. Tiznow was assigned 125 pounds, but is scheduled to run in the Woodward at Belmont Sept. 8.

Go to Del Mar coverage.