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Principle Secret gets new rider
ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Victor Espinoza will replace Alex Solis on Breeders' Cup Juvenile contender Principle Secret, trainer Christopher Paasch said Tuesday. Solis rode Principle Secret all three starts, including a win in the Grade 2 Best Pal and a runner-up finish last out in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes.
"Alex Solis is a great rider, but we decided to make a change," Paasch said. He declined to elaborate.
Espinoza also will replace Solis on Paasch-trained Juvenile Fillies longshot She's Included, eighth-place finisher in the Grade 2 Alcibiades.
"The division is unproven; it's worth taking a shot," Paasch said.
She's Included previously finished a distant third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, which Espinoza won with Point Ashley.
The decision by Espinoza and agent Tony Matos to switch from Point Ashley to longshot She's Included adds to the uncertainty surrounding Point Ashley. She has not worked since a runner-up finish Sept. 30 as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes. Point Ashley's trainer, Bob Baffert, said Tuesday he has not ruled out the Breeders' Cup.
"I'm going to work her on Monday and then decide," he said.
Baffert still has Breeders' Cup aspirations for a 2-year-old colt. He is Malt Magic, who blazed five furlongs Tuesday at Santa Anita in 57.80 seconds, and the trainer will go forward with plans to run in the Juvenile.
"I probably won't get in," Baffert said, adding, "I don't mind being bold if I know I have a chance."
Malt Magic finished sixth in the Norfolk Stakes after being shuffled back early. The colt previously won a mile maiden race by more than nine lengths.
Brother Derek has soft work
Brother Derek was merely on cruise control Tuesday morning in his first workout since a return-to-form second-place finish Oct. 7 in the Grade 2 Goodwood Handicap. Brother Derek, whose next start is in the Breeders' Cup Classic, worked five furlongs under Cisco Alvarado, who doubles as exercise rider and assistant to trainer Dan Hendricks.
Brother Derek came onto the track after the 8 a.m. renovation break, broke off at the 4 1/2-furlong marker, and worked a half-furlong past the finish wire.
Brother Derek started slowly (Hendricks timed him the opening quarter-mile in 25 seconds); track clockers gave him 1:01.60 breezing.
"It was just a fast gallop for him," Hendricks said.
Hendricks said Brother Derek will have a major workout Monday, followed by a final short work leading into the Breeders' Cup. The colt's final workout will be at Santa Anita or Churchill Downs. Shipping arrangements will be made pending weather in Kentucky.
Two third-place horses to watch
Although Artiste Royal and Spot the Diplomat will stay home, their performances in upcoming Oak Tree stakes carry Breeders' Cup ramifications. Artiste Royal finished third in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap, a half-length behind BC Turf contenders The Tin Man and T.oH. Approval. Artiste Royal will start as the 118-pound topweight Saturday in the Grade 3 Carleton F. Burke Handicap; a win would flatter The Tin Man's form. Others pointing to the Burke are Runaway Dancer, Sarafan, and Symphony Sid.
Spot the Diplomat finished third in the Norfolk under Patrick Valenzuela, behind Juvenile contenders Stormello and Principle Secret. If the Norfolk was a good race, Spot the Diplomat should win the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile on Oct. 28 and flatter the form of the Norfolk. Trainer Carla Gaines was satisfied with Spot the Diplomat's effort in the Norfolk.
"I thought it was a creditable performance," Gaines said. "Patrick said his hip got slammed and he grabbed the bit and got rank."
Zada Belle about to stretch out
Zada Belle's trainer, Adam Kitchingman, can explain the filly's nine-length debut victory Friday: "That's what happens when you run a 3-year-old against 2-year-olds," he said.
Kitchingman was only joking, but he was right in this regard - Zada Belle does not look like a typical speed-crazy 2-year-old.
A good-sized daughter of Indian Charlie, Zada Belle earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for running the 5o1/2 furlongs in 1:03.04 while geared down under Martin Pedroza. Kitchingman and owner Bill Peeples purchased Zada Belle for $95,000 at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds, where Kitchingman said she breezed a furlong in 10.60 seconds.
"She actually had a torn muscle and still worked pretty good," he said.
Kitchingman said Zada Belle would stretch out to seven furlongs for the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes on Nov. 19 at Hollywood, with the Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 17 as "the ultimate goal."
Will she run long? "She sure doesn't look like a five-furlong horse," Kitchingman said.
Moscow Burning iffy for Cal Cup
Moscow Burning has earned more than any California-bred filly or mare in history ($1,411,800), but it is uncertain whether she will be able to add to the total Oct. 28 when she is scheduled to make the final start of her career in the $100,000 California Cup Distance Handicap. Trainer Jim Cassidy has been unable to work Moscow Burning since her last start, on Sept. 30.
"It's the same arthritic issues that have been bothering her for a while," he said. "I've trained her every day, but I just haven't worked her."
Meanwhile, the Cassidy-trained Sol Mi Fa, who finished seventh as the 2-1 favorite Sunday in the $100,000 Harold C. Ramser, will be out three months. Cassidy said she came out of the race with a chip in an ankle; arthroscopic surgery was scheduled for Thursday.
Tizmanian Devil one more time?
A shortage of pace and quality of competition are why trainer Mark Glatt is considering allowance winner Tizmanian Devil for the $250,000 California Cup Classic.
"If the race wasn't so bad, I wouldn't even be considering it," Glatt said.
The Cal Cup would be his third start in five weeks.
Tizmanian Devil won his second straight race Friday, leading gate to wire in a first-level event for Cal-breds and earning a 94 Beyer. With top-class statebreds Lava Man and Brother Derek headed to the Breeders' Cup, the Cal Cup Classic is coming up light. Texcess, Cheroot, and Top This and That are the leading contenders.
* Glatt is more likely to start Grade 1 winner Debonair Joe in either the $150,000 Cal Cup Sprint or $50,000 Cal Cup Starter Handicap. Glatt claimed Deboniar Joe three starts back for $25,000, and the 7-year-old gelding has since finished third and second in back-to-back $50,000 claimers. Debonair Joe, who has eight wins and earnings of $472,645 from 40 starts, won the Malibu Stakes as a 26-1 longshot in 2002.