05/21/2009 11:00PM

Preakness also-rans may await Swaps


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Papa Clem and Pioneerof the Nile, major stakes winners in April who were sixth and 11th in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 16, have returned to California and are candidates for the $300,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 18, their trainers said.

Neither Gary Stute, who trains Papa Clem, nor Bob Baffert, who trains Pioneerof the Nile, is considering the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 6.

Papa Clem, the winner of the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in April, finished 7 3/4 lengths behind Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness after racing as close as fourth on the turn.

"I couldn't have gotten a better trip, but he came up empty down the lane," Stute said. "I don't know if he didn't get a hold of the track or because it was his third race in five weeks."

Papa Clem finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Stute said the Swaps, the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, or the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park are possible starts for Papa Clem, who is owned by Bo Hirsch.

"We'll point him for the summer," Stute said.

Pioneerof the Nile, who won the Santa Anita Derby in April and was second in the Kentucky Derby, faded through the stretch of the Preakness Stakes, surprising Baffert, who expected a sharper effort.

"I couldn't believe he ran so poorly," Baffert said.

Baffert said he thought Pioneerof the Nile would be near the front on his own, and was surprised when jockey Garrett Gomez said he had to urge his mount to keep up.

"Garrett said he wanted to fall out if it," Baffert said. "I thought he'd drag him up there. I think I have to take a lot of the blame for that."

Owned by Zayat Stable, Pioneerof the Nile was the top 3-year-old in California during the winter, winning four consecutive stakes from December to April.

"I want to freshen him up," Baffert said. "Maybe we'll run in the Swaps."

Misremembered can earn stakes shot

Baffert may have another contender for the Swaps in Misremembered, who starts in a $50,000 allowance race for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

Misremembered won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles April 29 in his second start. Baffert considers Sunday's race as a potential prep for the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on June 20.

"He's really improved," Baffert said. "If he runs well, we'll look at the Affirmed."

The allowance race drew five runners, including J P Jammer, who was third in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds on April 25, and Tiger Blitz, who was seventh in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita last September.

Tiger Blitz emerged from the Norfolk with an injury and has not started since.

"He's not 100 percent fit, but he's pretty close," trainer Vladimir Cerin said. "It's a good starting point. I hope he has the quality to be in the Swaps later in the meet."

Beware of longshot Tiz West

Of trainer Richard Mandella's two starters in Monday's $250,000 Shoemaker Mile, his best chance is with Dixie Chatter, the winner of the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita on April 4. But the trainer is equally enthusiastic about Tiz West.

A winner of two stakes last year, Tiz West was fourth in the San Simeon Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita last month, the colt's first start since September. Mandella said the Shoemaker Mile distance will be a better fit.

"I got a run in him down the hill," Mandella said. "It wasn't his preferred distance. He just kind of ran evenly. I think this race should suit him."

The field of eight is led by Ventura, the multiple-stakes-winning mare trained by Bobby Frankel; Hyperbaric, the winner of the Grade 1 Citation Handicap here last November; and Whatsthescript, who was third in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita in October.

Frankel also entered Storm Military. A likely pacesetter, Storm Military was second in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap here in April.

Pedroza getting into riding shape

Jockey Martin Pedroza has resumed working horses after recovering from a career-threatening pelvis injury at Santa Anita in January.

Pedroza resumed working horses last Tuesday and said he hopes to return to race riding in late June. He said the soreness he felt at the beginning of the week is gone.

"I've been getting on five or six a day," Pedroza said. "The second day I woke up I was so sore I thought someone beat me up with a baseball bat."

Pedroza, 43, suffered a broken pelvis when he was unseated during the post parade for the final race at Santa Anita on Jan. 11.

Bamaha Breeze sharp in return

Bamaha Breeze returned from a layoff of nearly six months to win Thursday's $72,300 El Segundo Stakes for turf sprinters.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Bamaha Breeze ($26), the longest shot in the field, held off Euroglide to win the five-furlong turf sprint by a neck in 55.13 seconds. Euroglide finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of pacesetter Sea of Pleasure.

Bamaha Breeze, a winner of 6 of 8 starts and $171,120, is trained by Steve Miyadi.

Ex-jockey Furlong dies at 63

Former jockey Kevin Furlong, who rode in California and British Columbia before he retired in 1997, died May 3 in Fort St. John, B.C., after a long battle with Pick's disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder. Furlong was 63. He is survived by his wife, Kim, and their 12-year-old son, Kameron.

Furlong was a leading apprentice rider at Golden Gate and Bay Meadows in the 1960s and rode at Southern California racetracks in the early 1970s before he relocated to British Columbia. He spent the final 12 years of his career riding mostly at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, B.C.

In addition to his career as a jockey, Furlong also was a movie actor and had supporting roles in "Braveheart," "The Gambler," and "Dick Tracy."

- additional reporting by Brad Free