09/05/2006 11:00PM

Point Ashley will have one BC prep

Email
Horsephotos
Jockey Victor Espinoza flashes seven fingers to represent his record seven-win day Monday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Point Ashley, who cruised to a 2 1/2-length win in Monday's Del Mar Debutante, came out of the race in good condition and will have one more start before heading to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 4, according to her trainer, Bob Baffert.

"That was awesome," Baffert said of her performance. "What I loved about it is she broke on top, then Victor got her back, got her outside, and got her to be patient. She's a really good filly. She's always shown so much quality.

"And this is great for Point Given," Baffert said, referring to Point Ashley's sire, who was Horse of the Year for Baffert in 2001.

Baffert said the Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Sept. 30 is among the possibilities for Point Ashley's next start.

Jump On In, who finished fifth in the Debutante as the second choice, came out of the race with a minor injury to her right front hoof.

"She grabbed a quarter, about a quarter-sized chunk off the bulb of her heel," said her trainer, John Sadler. "And I think she probably bounced, too. We'll take her to Oak Tree, train her, and decide where to go."

Espinoza finishes banner meet in style

Victor Espinoza ran away to his second straight riding title this summer at Del Mar, and even though he had locked up the championship well before closing day on Wednesday, he still had one more sensational accomplishment awaiting him.

On Monday, Espinoza won seven races on the 10-race card, setting a single-day record at the track. And by winning the first six races of the day, he won seven races in a row, since he also won the finale on Sunday.

"The whole meet has been great, the way everything set up," Espinoza said. "I was ready, after Hollywood Park, to come here and put on a good show. But not like that!"

After winning with his first six mounts on Monday, then finishing third in the day's seventh race, Espinoza got his record seventh victory of the day in the Debutante. Espinoza, 34, had two more opportunities on the 10-race card, including a terrific chance with Smooth Talk in the finale, but that horse finished second after making a bold, perhaps premature, brush to the front around the final turn.

"I knew my horse had a good chance to win that race," Espinoza said. "I had trouble seeing the leaders on the turn because of the sun. I went outside, I went by them, and then all the leaders stopped. I thought I was going to win eight races, but that last horse kind of hung."

Espinoza's seven wins surpassed the previous one-day Del Mar record of six held by Rudy Rosales, Bill Shoemaker, and Laffit Pincay Jr., who did it twice, most recently in 1978. Espinoza's seven straight wins, including the last race on Sunday, equaled a record held by Shoemaker, who won seven straight at Del Mar on Labor Day weekend of 1954.

Espinoza has been riding on this circuit for a decade, and his ascension has coincided with both his improvement and the recent retirements or relocations of several top riders, including Eddie Delahoussaye, Julie Krone, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Gary Stevens, as well as the still active Kent Desormeaux and Garrett Gomez.

"When I first came here, I looked around and said, 'Wow, I better be good,' " Espinoza said. "I was shy to ask them any questions. I was a little intimidated. I feel I've loosened up more."

Denman thrilled to call Breeders' Cup

Trevor Denman, the track announcer at Del Mar, on Wednesday said he was "very excited" to learn officially that he would be calling the Breeders' Cup races for ESPN, beginning this year.

Denman, 53, has been calling races in Southern California for more than two decades. He took over as the lead announcer at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting in 1983, at Del Mar in 1984, and at Santa Anita's winter meeting for the 1984-85 season. The Breeders' Cup began in 1984.

"You always need challenges, and this is a great challenge," Denman said in his booth as he prepared for the closing-day card at Del Mar. "It's the biggest day in racing in the entire world, and it's an international event, too. But most of all, it's a great challenge."

Solis misses closing day

After suffering bruised ribs in an accident on Monday at Del Mar, jockey Alex Solis missed his mounts on Wednesday's closing-day card, including morning-line favorite Prime Ruler in the Del Mar Futurity.

Jon Court replaced Solis on Prime Ruler for trainer Chris Paasch.

Solis was injured at the start of Monday's ninth race, when his mount, Winning Tactics, stumbled badly, pitching Solis over the horse's head and to the ground. Winning Tactics then appeared to graze Solis as he tried to chase after his rivals.

"He bruised a couple of ribs," said Scotty McClellan, Solis's agent. "He's very uncomfortable."

Solis was taken to a local hospital for X-rays, but they were negative. He was scheduled to be on vacation beginning Thursday and is not scheduled to return to action until the start of Oak Tree's meeting at Santa Anita on Sept. 27.

Ward fined for late scratch

Trainer Wesley Ward was fined $500 as a result of his horse True and True being a late scratch from the second race last Friday. According to steward George Slender, True and True was reported by her stable to be coughing that morning, but that reasoning was withdrawn by a vet later in the day. True and True was later not on the grounds to race and had to be scratched. True and True was entered in Wednesday's ninth race, but was scratched again.

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. was fined $300 because his horse Maemy received a Lasix shot inside the four-hour time limit, necessitating a late scratch last week, according to Slender.

Trainer Mike Puype also was fined $300 for having unmarked bottles of medication at his barn, Slender said.

* Principle Secret, the Best Pal Stakes winner, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Wednesday morning at Del Mar for Paasch.

* Healthy Addiction, who captured the Clement Hirsch Handicap in her last start, worked a half-mile in 47.80 seconds for Sadler.