06/22/2012 11:37AM

Pleasanton: Marshal Marini must deal with Longview Drive again in Livermore Valley Wines

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An old nemesis awaits Marshal Marini when he makes his comeback Sunday in the $50,000 Livermore Valley Wines Stakes at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif.

Marshal Marini will make his first start as a 3-year-old in the six-furlong stakes. In his last start on Dec. 10, Marshal Marini opened a lead in the stretch in the one-mile Gold Rush before late-running Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Russian Greek edged him in a photo.

Marshal Marini has 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 6 career starts, placing in all four stakes in which he has run.

Two of the stakes losses came to Longview Drive, also trained by Hollendorfer and the likely favorite in Sunday’s field of five 3-year-olds.

“He had a hard campaign so we turned him out and gave him some time off. We freshened him,” said Cliff Delima, who trains Marshal Marini for his wife, Barbara.

Delima had this race penciled in for his star’s return when he was brought back to the track and began working him on April 15. He has had nine works over the track, including a pair of recent bullets.

Delima is pleased with Marshal Marini’s development since his juvenile campaign and likes how the gelding has been working this month.

On June 1, Marshal Marini had a four-furlong 47.20-second bullet work. He then went five furlongs in 59.60 a week later and had a bullet five-furlong work in a minute flat on June 14. He then had a 35.60 three-furlong blowout Wednesday.

Because Delima is based here, he says, “That’s a plus” when talking about Marshal Marini racing on his home track after training on it.

“He did win his first out her last year,” Delima said.

But Marshal Marini’s nemesis Longview Drive also won his maiden here last year after running second in his debut at Golden Gate Fields.

Longview Drive then won the six-furlong Cavonnier with Marshal Marini losing a photo for second, finishing 5 1/2 lengths back.

Longview Drive next won the 1 1/16-mile Charlie Palmer at Fresno, defeating Marshal Marini by 1 1/4 lengths. He has run third in a pair of Grade 3 stakes, the Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs and the Sham at Santa Anita, since then and comes off a third-place finish in his turf debut in the Alcatraz on May 12 at Golden Gate.

Hollendorfer also enters the sharp Reconstruction, who set the pace in the California Derby.

Three Vases and Coach Bob, sixth and seventh in the March 31 Echo Eddie at Santa Anita, round out the field.