07/20/2009 11:00PM

Monterey Jazz ready to go

Benoit & Associates
Trainer Craig Dollase originally intended to skip Saturday's Eddie Read with American Handicap winner Monterey Jazz, but a quick Monday workout helped change his mind.

DEL MAR, Calif. - The pace and the depth of the Grade 1, $350,000 Eddie Read Handicap on Saturday at Del Mar got a whole lot stronger Tuesday morning when trainer Craig Dollase said he had decided to go ahead and run the speedy Monterey Jazz just three weeks after his front-running win in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Dollase at first thought the quick turnaround might not be in Monterey Jazz's best interest and mentioned the Longacres Mile, next month at Emerald Downs, as a potential spot. But Monterey Jazz worked strongly at Hollywood Park on Monday morning - five furlongs in 58 seconds - then shipped well to Del Mar, so by Tuesday morning, Dollase said it was full steam ahead.

"He worked really well yesterday," Dollase said Tuesday morning at Del Mar while watching his horses train from bleachers adjacent to the backstretch. "It looks like we'll run him and Awesome Gem. They have two different styles, so they won't compromise each other. Maybe I can get a dead heat."

Monterey Jazz's work on Monday was the best of 13 at the distance. The next-best time was 59.80 seconds, nearly two seconds slower. And the move was termed breezing, a designation given out infrequently in California.

"He worked so good that it made me consider the quick turnaround," Dollase said. "It's three weeks, but he hasn't missed a beat. He's been kind of touting me. I wanted to see how he was doing. He's giving me every indication he's ready to go. I don't think the three-week turnaround is going to be a problem. At first I did, but the way he's trained, I have confidence it won't be."

The Eddie Read, like the American, is at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Tyler Baze, who rode Monterey Jazz in the American, is back aboard. In addition to Dollase's two runners, the Read is expected to include Artiste Royal, Dakota Phone, Global Hunter, Richard's Kid, Thorn Song, and Whatsthescript.

Thorn Song now with Mitchell

Thorn Song is back in California, and this time, it's to stay. He was sent west in May by trainer Dale Romans and won the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park. He then returned to Churchill Downs for the Firecracker Handicap on July 4 but faltered and finished fourth. After that race, he returned to California, and owner Ahmed Zayat turned him over to trainer Mike Mitchell.

"Mr. Zayat is moving more of his horses to California," said Mitchell, who said he now has about 25 horses for Zayat. "He likes Del Mar. He's going to be here with his family."

Zayat, Maimonides come full circle

Zayat has always enjoyed being at Del Mar, but he had an infamous blowup with Joe Harper, Del Mar's president, two summers ago when Del Mar first put in its Polytrack surface. Cooler heads have since prevailed, and, remarkably, the horse who was initially at the center of the controversy is back at Del Mar, too.

Bob Baffert, who also trains for Zayat, was not happy with the Polytrack here two summers ago. He said it was hindering the brilliance of his 2-year-olds, most notably Maimonides, whom Zayat owns. Zayat confronted Harper about Del Mar's surface, and after an animated discussion, Zayat pulled his horses from this circuit.

Maimonides left for Saratoga, where he romped in his debut. He subsequently was injured and he has been in and out of training, with other trainers, over the past two years.

But now Maimonides is back at Del Mar, where on Monday he worked six furlongs in 1:11.80, the best time of 13 at the distance.

"I've had him for a while," Baffert said Tuesday morning. "I'm not sure when he'll run, or if I'll run him here or out of town."

No solid plans for Misremembered

Baffert also is debating where and when to next run Misremembered, who earned the first stakes win of his career by capturing the Swaps Stakes last weekend at Hollywood Park.

"The Swaps was as far as I had been thinking," Baffert said. "Long-term, I want to run in the Dubai World Cup next year for $10 million. He loves a synthetic track, and he'll run all day.

"We got invited to the Haskell, but that's coming back too quick. I'm just going to train him and see what comes up. He's big. He's just coming into his own. I guess the logical spot would be the Travers, but maybe he'll stay here."

Baffert also is the co-owner of Misrmembered.

"It's a one-shot deal. He's got to last," Baffert said, before adding, joking, "If I didn't own him, I'd run in the Haskell and then the Travers and then bring him back a week later for the Pacific Classic."

Kelly Leak ready to run, but where?

Kelly Leak is best known for winning the Sunland Derby, from which Mine That Bird emerged to win the Kentucky Derby. After getting a brief freshening, Kelly Leak is ready to run again, but trainer Mike Machowsky is considering his options.

"There's no 3-year-old graded stakes races on the dirt here," Machowsky said. "I'd like to keep him here and run, so maybe he'll run against older horses in the San Diego. The Haskell, Jim Dandy, and West Virginia Derby are options, but I'd rather not put him on a plane first time after a layoff. He's doing really well right now."

* Repo, who won the Landaluce Stakes and is entered in the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Stakes on Friday, worked three furlongs in 36 seconds Tuesday morning for trainer Doug O'Neill.

* Recent allowance winner Sangaree, prepping for a possible start in the Grade 2, $250,000 San Diego Handicap on Aug. 2, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 for Baffert.

* Early-bird wagering will be from 9 to 10 a.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.

* Although Del Mar is dark this year on Mondays and Tuesdays, the track will be open for simulcasting on Mondays from Saratoga once that meet opens July 29.