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Richard Migliore's first beach-bum summer
DEL MAR, Calif. - For a moment early Thursday afternoon, jockey Richard Migliore was lost in the world of Del Mar. He was on the beach next to the racetrack with his children when his wife reminded him that first post time was nearing.
Fortunately for Migliore, he was not needed to ride the first few races, but he still needed to scramble over to the jockeys' room to check in for the day. "I got on the phone and said, 'I'm on my way over,' " he said.
Migliore arrived in time to guide Yearly Attitude to a front-running victory in a $25,000 claiming race at a mile in the third race. For Migliore, who is in his first year at Del Mar, the victory was only his third of the meeting, fewer than he had expected through the first eight days of the 43-day season.
Asked if he was disappointed with his results, Migliore said, "A little bit, but that's the game. You have to show up every day. It's not a sprint."
The current season is a shift in summer locales for Migliore, 42. He had ridden at Saratoga each summer throughout his career, which began in 1980. Even in years that he was out with injury, Migliore and his family still traveled to Saratoga for the summer, he said.
New York, and Saratoga in particular, have not escaped Migliore's mind. He was scheduled to ride Fairbanks in the Whitney Handicap there on Saturday before returning to California for Sunday's program at Del Mar.
Migliore has two mounts on Sunday, including Bordonaro in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap at six furlongs. Bordonaro has one victory in three starts this year, the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April. He was a troubled seventh in the True North Handicap at Belmont Park in early June.
Migliore was aboard for those two races. He is worried that the new Polytrack synthetic surface at Del Mar may not help a front-runner such as Bordonaro.
"I thought it would be more like Arlington, with less bias," he said of the Del Mar track. "This is more like Keeneland; horses get tired. The track isn't playing to his advantage. The only thing that tempers it is that he did work well over the surface.
"I think horses will improve in their second race over it. Some look like they have the race won at the sixteenth pole and they stagger home."
Migliore has been based in California since last fall. On Friday, he said that he will ride the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting that starts in late September.
He intends to return to New York after this meeting ends in September, and will ride at Belmont Park that month, but will return to California at the end of September.
Hollywood completes rewaxing project
Hollywood Park recently completed a rewaxing of the top level of its Cushion Track synthetic surface, a project that has been well-received by trainers.
The top level of the surface was rewaxed after the completion of the spring-summer meeting on July 15. The track is open as a training center this summer.
Hollywood announced in mid-June that it would add wax to the track after studies showed a breakdown of wax in the top layer of the surface. The project was not started until after the meeting out of concern for how it would affect racing, according to track president Jack Liebau.
"We went in with some trepidation because we hadn't done it before," Liebau said. "I think in the future we wouldn't hesitate to do it during the meeting. We had no familiarity with the process. It worked out amazingly well."
Trainers said the course closely resembles its condition when it was installed last September as the first synthetic surface in California.
"It seems to be getting back to what it was," said trainer Tim Yakteen, who is based at Hollywood Park this summer.
Trainer David Hofmans, who has split his stable between Hollywood Park and Del Mar, said the course "is getting its old bounce back."
"I feel better about it," he said.
The surface will not be used for racing until the Hollywood Park fall meeting begins in early November.
Potts to return to riding on Sunday
Jockey Clinton Potts was off his mounts at least through Saturday after being thrown from his mount during a workout Thursday.
Potts underwent X-rays and an MRI on his neck on Thursday, and they showed no damage, according to his agent, Nick Cosato. Potts is booked to ride on Sunday.
Potts was working Tizthen for trainer Bill Currin when the filly struck the inside rail near the eighth pole. Tizthen needed stitches to close the wounds, Currin said.
Red Diadem rallies late to win Daisycutter
Red Diadem unleashed a breathtaking rally through the stretch to win her first stakes in Thursday's $94,615 Daisycutter Handicap.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Red Diadem ($10.80) closed from seventh in the field of eight fillies and mares to win the five-furlong turf race by a half-length over pacesetter Stylish Wildcat. Red Diadem was timed in 55.92 seconds. Silly Little Mama finished third.
"I had to save ground," Espinoza said. "It was the only chance I had."
Red Diadem was making her first start since finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap at Santa Anita in April. She emerged from that race with an entrapped epiglottis that required surgery, trainer Ben Cecil said.
Red Diadem races for Dolantori Stable. A 4-year-old, she has won 4 of 13 starts and $159,387.
Aidan tries to earn spot in Debutante
Trainer Dale Romans may have a prospect for the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3, if Aidan runs to Romans's expectations in Sunday's sixth race.
The six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-old fillies has drawn a field of nine, but may have only eight starters. Divine Legacy, who drew the rail, will be withdrawn with a suspected tibia injury, trainer Bill Currin said. He had not received a veterinarian's diagnosis as of Friday morning.
Aidan was a troubled third in her debut at Churchill Downs on June 24, when she was forced to steady and was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths. "I thought she could have won with a cleaner trip," Romans said.
There are six first time-starters in Sunday's field, including Masterful Miss, who was purchased for $290,000 at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training by owner Charlie Cono, and Wings of an Angel, who was bred by owners Richard Strauss and Roberta Williford.
Masterful Miss may need a start, according to trainer Christopher Paasch. "I think she might be better for grass," he said.
Paasch is hoping the filly gains experience on Sunday. "We're not really drilling our babies the first time," he said.
Wings of an Angel, by Cherokee Run, is trained by Paddy Gallagher. He trained her dam, Angel Gift, a two-time stakes winner who finished second to Azeri in the 2002 Clement Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar.
Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, who rode Angel Gift on a few occasions, is a co-breeder of Wings of an Angel.
"She acts like a filly that has sense," Gallagher said of Wings of an Angel.
Typically, Gallagher's 2-year-olds are better with a start. His first-time starters win just 7 percent of the time.
"I always blame that on the jockey," Gallagher said.