10/26/2008 11:00PM

Purses taking cut at Santa Anita winter meet


ARCADIA, Calif. - Santa Anita will cut overnight purses for its upcoming winter-spring meeting by approximately 7 to 10 percent, according to director of racing Mike Harlow.

The cuts, which have not been finalized pending discussions with the Thoroughbred Owners of California, are a reflection of a poor economy and a year-long decline in parimutuel handle on many major circuits, Harlow said.

"The same numbers are happening at all meets," Harlow said. "People are coming to the track with less money. The numbers don't lie."

Earlier this year, Del Mar cut purses during its summer meeting. Fairplex Park officials said business was slow at their fair meeting in September and that purses for the 2009 meeting will be reduced.

Santa Anita officials are scheduled to meet with TOC officials later this week. The TOC, the state's official representative for horsemen, must approve purse agreements.

Harlow said that business expectations for the winter meeting are difficult to predict because the 2007-08 meeting had 11 days of racing cancelled when the synthetic main track failed to sufficiently drain after rain. Three days were made up, all on weekdays. At times, simulcast racing from other tracks was conducted on cancelled days, which helped Santa Anita generate some purse money.

Santa Anita spent seven weeks this summer completely refurbishing its main track in the hope that winter rains will not cause any disruption of racing.

Into Mischief not done yet

Into Mischief, the winner of the Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, may remain in training as a 4-year-old in 2009, a reversal of owner B. Wayne Hughes's recent plans for the colt.

Hughes is considering sending Into Mischief to stud, but said a decision has been postponed until after the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. The Damascus Stakes was run over seven furlongs for 3-year-olds.

"I think we'll go to the Malibu," Hughes said in the winner's circle. "If he were to win that, we could run another year. We haven't made a final decision."

In the Damascus, Into Mischief was fifth early and rallied three wide to take the lead in the final furlong. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Into Mischief won by two lengths over pacesetter Dancing in Silks, timed in a quick 1:20.38.

"That was an awesome performance, he really was galloping" at the finish, Hughes said.

Georgie Boy, the 7-5 favorite, finished fourth in his first start since March.

Into Mischief has won 3 of 5 starts and $547,080. Trained by Richard Mandella, Into Mischief was sidelined from February until the Damascus Stakes because of foot injuries.

Muny aims for Hollywood Derby

Muny will be pointed for the $500,000 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 30 after winning his stakes debut in the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby Saturday. The gelding's rise from maiden race winner in July to Gradeo2 stakes winner in three races has been a delight to trainer Mike Puype.

"He wants to run," Puype said.

Muny had to do just that through the final furlong of the Oak Tree Derby. Madeo, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, was stuck in traffic on the rail in early stretch and closed well in the final sixteenth to finish a neck behind Muny ($22.80).

The partnership that owns Muny recently paid $3,000 to make the gelding eligible for the Hollywood Derby, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. "Whether he'll go a mile and a quarter, I don't know," Puype said.

The Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby was Muny's third consecutive victory.

Foxy Danseur wins before sale

Foxy Danseur won her first stakes at an ideal time Sunday in the Cascapedia. A week before she is scheduled to be sold at Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky, she rallied from seventh to win by a length.

The victory was the second stakes win in two days for the team of owner Charlie Cono, trainer Christopher Paasch, and jockey Mike Smith, who teamed on Friday to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with Stardom Bound.

Foxy Danseur ($11.20) ran the seven furlongs Sunday in 1:21.66, outfinishing High Resolve.

Paasch said that Smith's familiarity with the filly was pivotal. He rode her to a head loss in an allowance race here on Sept. 26.

"When Mike rode her the first time, he said he moved too soon," Paasch said. "He decided to take her farther back."

Foxy Danseur, 3, has won 3 of 12 starts and $233,214.