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Meteor Storm to break until winter
DEL MAR, Calif. - Meteor Storm, the winner of three top turf stakes earlier this year, has been turned out and will not be considered for the Breeders' Cup grass races on Oct. 30, trainer Wally Dollase said.
The winner of the San Luis Rey, San Juan Capistrano, and Manhattan handicaps this year, Meteor Storm was seventh in the United Nations at Monmouth Park on July 3 in his most recent start. In July, Dollase considered Meteor Storm as a candidate for this weekend's Del Mar Handicap.
Dollase said Meteor Storm was turned out because he was not responding well to training.
"We'll give him a couple of months off," Dollase said. "He won't run until Santa Anita this winter."
Dream of Summer may experiment
With two sprint stakes wins this summer, Dream of Summer may be tried in longer races or on turf this fall, trainer Juan Garcia said.
Dream of Summer scored a neck victory Saturday over Barbara Orr as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs. Last month, she won the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park.
Dream of Summer is a California-bred, and therefore could start in either of two $150,000 races on the California Cup program on Oct. 16: the Matron over 1 1/16 miles on dirt or the Distaff over about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.
Garcia said he would work Dream of Summer on turf before trying her on that surface.
"I think she'll run well on turf," he said.
Jockey Mike Smith said riding Dream of Summer calls for patience, even if that style can give her backers fits.
"I know she doesn't like to be ridden," Smith said. "If you get to moving too much, she resents it."
Solis on hand for Pleasantly Perfect's win
Pleasantly Perfect has brought jockey Alex Solis the two biggest victories of his career, in the Dubai World Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic. So although Solis is sidelined for the rest of the year with a fractured vertebra, he still came out to Del Mar on Sunday to cheer Pleasantly Perfect to victory in the Pacific Classic.
"It was exciting. I felt like I was watching one of my kids compete," Solis said Monday morning. "My legs were shaking, and my heart felt like it was going to come out of my mouth."
Solis was making the rounds at Del Mar on Monday morning, visiting several trainers and well-wishers. He is confined to a plastic cast that begins at his waist and supports his back and neck.
"I've been feeling better the last 10 days," said Solis, who was injured in an accident the third day of the meeting, July 23. "Friday was the first official day that I really missed riding."
Solis said he will have to wear the plastic cast for another two weeks, and then will begin rehabilitation.
"The only thing I can do now is walk," he said. "I have to wear this when I'm walking or when I'm sitting down. I can take it off at night to sleep."
Baffert fillies work for Debutante
Excessively Nice and Inspiring, both of whom are nominated to Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Del Mar Debutante, worked Monday morning, but trainer Bob Baffert said he might only run one in the race.
Inspiring captured the Sorrento Stakes in her last start and is the probable favorite in the Debutante. She worked four furlongs in 47.40 seconds.
Excessively Nice sped five furlongs in 59.20 seconds. She was a winner of her lone start earlier this month, but she is eligible to the $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes for California-bred 2-year-old fillies on Sept. 1.
"I just might wait for that because she's a Cal-bred," Baffert said.
Others expected for the seven-furlong Debutante include Ninadivina, Proposed, She's Salty, and Souvenir Gift.
Moscow Burning to face males
Moscow Burning will stretch out to 1 3/8 miles and take on males in Sunday's Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap. She had her final work for the race on Monday, with an easy five-furlong move in 1:02.80.
"We didn't let her do too much," said her trainer, Jim Cassidy. "That's all she needs. We want to save it for the race."
Moscow Burning could have waited until Sept. 4 for the Grade 2, $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap, which is restricted to fillies and mares, but Cassidy said the distance of the Del Mar Handicap is more suitable than the 1 1/16-mile Palomar.
Moscow Burning is expected to face Continuously, Gene de Campeao, Mananan McLir, Murano, Sarafan, Star Over the Bay, The Tin Man, and another filly, Dimitrova.
Souvenir Gift works five furlongs
Sunday, Souvenir Gift worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 at San Luis Rey Downs training center in northern San Diego county.
Trained by Sam Semkin, Souvenir Gift suffered her first loss when second to Inspiring in the Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 7. She won the Cinderella Stakes and Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park earlier this year.
Imperialism leans toward Super Derby
Imperialism, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:13.60 on Sunday. He is nearing a return to racing in September, but it has not been decided whether he will start in the $400,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6 or the $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 25.
Trainer Kristin Mulhall said she would prefer to start Imperialism in the Super Derby, which would give Imperialism more time and bypass a meeting with Blackdoun, a top contender for the Del Mar Derby.
"I don't think he'll be 100 percent for the Del Mar Derby, and to face Blackdoun he needs to be 100 percent," Mulhall said.
Barnes out with rib injury
Dana Barnes, a top exercise rider for trainer Bob Baffert, has been sidelined after suffering bruised ribs Saturday, when she was unseated from Roman Ruler.
Roman Ruler, unbeaten in two starts, including the Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 15, reared up at the end of a gallop Saturday, flipped over, fell on his right side, and briefly pinned Barnes. Barnes underwent X-rays late Saturday morning.
"I think she'll be out for a few weeks," Baffert said. "It was a fluky deal. He was feeling too good and there were horses around him."
Purse redistributed after positive test
The purse of a $20,800 sprint for maiden claimers at Hollywood Park on June 10 has been ordered redistributed after the winner, Artabegood, was found to have tested positive for an excessive amount of clenbuterol.
In addition, trainer Leonard Duncan has been fined $2,000 as part of a stipulated settlement with the California Horse Racing Board.
Artabegood was the nine-length winner of a maiden race for $40,000 claimers. The postrace urine test was conducted at Truesdail Laboratories and was confirmed by a second lab.
Clenbuterol is a breathing medication that is allowed to appear in postrace tests at trace levels.
The purse will be redistributed to the original second- through sixth-place finishers: La Tequilera, Ms Forty Second St., Noonday Idol, Downtown Fresno, and Permission.
- additional reporting by Jay Privman