09/03/2010 2:36PM

Price was right for half-brother to Lava Man

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Enriched appeared in the entries for an $80,000 claimer for maidens at Hollywood Park in May 2009 when trainer Doug O’Neill approached longtime friend Mark Verge about a potential claim.

“I told him, ‘I don’t have Doug O’Neill money,’ ” Verge recalls. Enriched won that race by 7 3/4 lengths, and won two of his next four starts before appearing in an optional claimer for a $32,000 claiming price at Santa Anita last November.

O’Neill called Verge again. This time, the price was more reasonable. Verge called a few partners, and had a surefire sales pitch. “They said, ‘A half to Lava Man? We’re in,’ ” Verge remembers.

Since then, Enriched, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding and a half-brother to the seven-time Grade 1 winner Lava Man, has earned $308,496. On Aug. 28, Enriched won the first stakes of his career in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on turf.

The Del Mar Mile is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, guaranteeing the winner an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6, pending the payment of nomination and entry fees. Enriched was not nominated to the Breeders’ Cup as a young horse, O’Neill said last weekend, leaving Verge and the other partners – Glenn Sorgenstein, Joshua Kaplan and Neil Haymes – looking toward other options.

Three races at Hollywood Park – the $150,000 Oak Tree Mile on turf on Oct. 9, the $100,000 California Cup Mile on Oct. 30 and the $250,000 Citation Handicap in late November – are being considered.

“I think we’ll stay in town,” Verge said. “I think we’ll go to the back-to-back races in L.A.”

There have even been discussions about a trip to Hong Kong for the $2 million Hong Kong Mile on Dec. 12, although Enriched’s lone stakes win to date may not be enough to merit that trip.

In the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile, Enriched had an easy two-length lead, through a slow pace of 23.97 and 48.53 seconds, and held off a late run from Meteore to win by three-quarters of a length.

Enriched was bred by Carol Lingenfelter at her farm in Sanger, Calif. She campaigned Enriched with trainer Craig Dollase until he was claimed. In the start before Enriched was claimed by O’Neill and the current partnership, the gelding finished third in the California Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

“I think Doug always thought he was a nice horse,” Verge said. “After we claimed him, he said, ‘We’ve got something here.’”

So far, that has resulted in a stakes winner who has earned more than $300,000.

Cindago has a winner

Cindago sired his first winner on Thursday when Courtside won a $32,000 claiming race for maidens at Del Mar.

Courtside ($4.80) ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.85 in his second start for owner-breeders Lee and Susan Searing CRK Stable and trainer John Sadler.

CRK Stable campaigned Cindago, who won 2 of 3 starts and $98,180 in a career cut short by injury. Cindago, 7, stands at Legacy Ranch in Clements, Calif. Earlier this year, his fee was $2,500.

Good Journey, who stands at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., had his first winner in North America when the filly Farallon won a $32,000 claiming race for maidens at Golden Gate Fields on Aug. 26.

Farallon, who races for owner-breeder Pacific Ridge Stable and trainer Bud Klokstad, made her debut on Aug. 26.

Good Journey, 14, began his career in Australia and was moved to California for the 2007 breeding season. In Australia, Good Journey sired Grand Journey, the winner of the Group 1 Australian Derby in 2008.

Earlier this year, Good Journey stood for $7,500 at Magali.