08/05/2008 11:00PM

Mr Napper Tandy finds winnable spot


DEL MAR, Calif. - After Mr Napper Tandy finished fourth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 19, trainer Jack Carava kicked around starting the colt in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24.

The idea was abandoned this week when an optional $100,000 claimer over a mile was offered on Friday's eight-race program.

"His last race was a good race, but it's time to win a race," Carava said.

Owned by La Canada Stables, Mr Napper Tandy is part of a five-horse field in a race with a lucrative $75,000 purse. Carava said Mr Napper Tandy could return in the $80,000 Windy Sands Handicap over a mile on Sept. 1 if he runs well Friday.

Carava said he is encouraged by the way that Mr Napper Tandy has trained on Del Mar's Polytrack synthetic surface. In the San Diego Handicap, Mr Napper Tandy closed from ninth in a field of 10 to finish 3 3/4 lengths behind Well Armed.

"He seems to handle this surface better than any of them," Carava said. "I'm happy with him as much now as any time that I have had him. His last race was a good race.

"My biggest concern is this is coming back a little on the quick side, but he's doing well the last few mornings."

Bred in Great Britain, Mr Napper Tandy has won 2 of 9 starts for Carava and La Canada Stables.

Friday's race also features Vega's Lord, who was second in the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields in 2007; Dilemma, winner of the Sunny Slope Stakes in 2006; Tiz Afire, who was second in the Ferdinand Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 3; and Cheroot, who won the Daytona Handicap at Santa Anita in February.

Dilemma was fifth in the Ferdinand Handicap, finishing two lengths behind Lang Field, winner of the Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park last November.

"I was a little disappointed," said Paddy Gallagher, who trains Dilemma. "He's run some good races when he's shown a lot of ability."

Spring House skipping Pacific Classic

The Pacific Classic will not include Spring House, winner of the San Luis Obispo Handicap on turf at Santa Anita earlier this year.

Trainer Julio Canani said Spring House will stay on turf for the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on Aug. 23. Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Spring House has the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 as a long-term goal, Canani said.

In place of Spring House in the Pacific Classic, Canani will start Mostacolli Mort, who was third in the San Diego Handicap on July 19.

The other probable starters for the Pacific Classic are Awesome Gem, Go Between, Mast Track, Student Council, Surf Cat, Well Armed, and Zappa.

Lewis Michael, who finished fourth in the Grade 3 Sea O'Erin Handicap at Arlington Park on July 26 in his first start of the year, will be nominated for the Pacific Classic, but is more likely to start on the same day in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap over seven furlongs, according to Steve Leving, racing manager for owner Frank Calabrese.

Trained by Wayne Catalano, Lewis Michael breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Arlington Park on Wednesday.

"He looked better than he's ever looked," Catalano said.

Purse cuts across the board

The purse cut that begins next Wednesday will affect races of all levels, according to director of racing Tom Robbins.

For example, the purse of a maiden race for $25,000 claimers over a sprint distance has been cut from $20,000 to $19,000. A maiden special weight race for California-bred 2-year-old sprinters has dropped $3,000, to $50,000. A first-condition allowance race for California-breds around two turns has been cut $3,000, to $60,000. A claiming race around two turns for $35,000 to $40,000 claimers has been cut $2,000, to $44,000.

The purse cut was announced on Aug. 1 following slow business in the first two weeks of the meeting, which ends Sept. 3. Track officials said on Aug. 1 that purses would be cut by 3.5 percent.

"Everything got cut," Robbins said.

In addition to overnight races, five stakes, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 16, have been reduced. The Oaks and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31 were cut by $50,000, to $350,000.

Eight overnight stakes were cut $5,000 each, to $80,000. The first of those affected races is the Green Flash Handicap over five furlongs on turf next Wednesday. The race is expected to draw Idiot Proof, the runner-up in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Yankee Bravo misses La Jolla

Yankee Bravo, unraced since finishing 10th in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 17, was not entered for Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap because of a slight foot injury, Gallagher said.

"He had a little pulse in his foot," Gallagher said. "It could be an abscess, but we don't know what caused it."

Owned by a partnership, Yankee Bravo has won half of his six starts and $247,049. His most recent win was the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields in January. Gallagher said Yankee Bravo will be trained toward the $350,000 Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31.

The La Jolla, which is run over 1 1/16 miles on turf, drew a field of 10 and is led by Tiz West, winner of the Grade 3 Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 21.

Hold That Exposure euthanized

Hold That Exposure, a 3-year-old colt, was euthanized Wednesday after suffering a sesamoid injury to his right foreleg at the end of a workout, track officials said. Hold That Exposure had finished a five-furlong main-track workout in 1:02 when he was injured.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin for Russell Sarno and Ran Manzani, Hold That Exposure had 1 victory in 4 starts, an $80,000 claiming race for maidens at Hollywood Park on June 19. In his only subsequent start, he finished a game third in an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf here July 18.