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Rock Hard Ten, Congrats look ahead
ARCADIA, Calif. - A day after his stable went one-two in Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap with Rock Hard Ten and Congrats, trainer Richard Mandella was plotting the future for the two horses, with diverse goals in mind.
Rock Hard Ten will get a brief vacation, while Congrats is likely to be sent to Dubai for the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 26. Mandella won the 2004 Dubai World Cup with Pleasantly Perfect.
Mandella said that the 4-year-old Rock Hard Ten is not ready for a worldwide trip, particularly after three stakes wins since Christmas.
"He's not an old pro that you want to travel around with," Mandella said. "At least not yet."
Mandella said he feels more comfortable taking Congrats, 5, but said a decision will not be made for a few more days.
"I'm going to give serious consideration to going to Dubai," Mandella said.
Congrats has won 7 of 18 starts. He won the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap here in January.
Rock Hard Ten has the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park in October as a long-range goal. The colt will have a break in the next few weeks. The vacation is a reward for sweeping three stakes at the Santa Anita meeting - the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, the Grade 2 Strub Stakes on Feb. 5, and the Grade 1 Big Cap on Saturday, his first start against older horses.
In the , at 1 1/4 miles, Rock Hard Ten rallied from fifth to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
"He lost a lot of weight in the race," Mandella said. "I'll let him relax a little. I don't know that I wouldn't send him out for 10 days or two weeks."
Owned by Mercedes Stable and Madeleine Paulson, Rock Hard Ten has won 6 of 10 starts and $1,570,380.
Rock Hard Ten gave Mandella his first Big Cap victory since Malek in 1998. Mandella also won with Siphon in 1997.
Borrego, who finished third in the Big Cap, is a candidate for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9, trainer Beau Greely said Sunday.
Last year, Borrego was second to Smarty Jones in the Arkansas Derby.
In the Big Cap, Borrego was sent off at 25-1. He was sixth for most of the race and rallied from that position to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind Rock Hard Ten.
"He ran super," Greely said. "He's grown up and filled in this year. I was really happy with his run."
Musical Chimes is retired
, who finished a troubled fifth in Saturday's Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile, has been retired and will be sent to Kentucky later this week to be bred, trainer Neil Drysdale said.
Owned by Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum, Musical Chimes won 4 of 20 starts and $959,489. Two of her wins came at the highest level - the Group 1 French 1000 Guineas at Longchamp in 2003 and the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar last summer.
A Kentucky-bred by In Excess, Musical Chimes placed in three other Group 1 or Grade 1 races in 2003 - a second in the Yellow Ribbon and Matriarch stakes and a third in the French Oaks.
In the Kilroe, Musical Chimes was in traffic in the stretch and was unlucky not to finish closer than 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Leroidesanimaux.
Chatlos: Singletary less fit than some rivals
Singletary, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile last October, was a disappointment in the Kilroe, finishing seventh in his first start of the year. But trainer Don Chatlos said Singletary will return in the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap at a mile on turf on April 9.
In the , Singletary stalked the pace to early stretch before fading to finish five lengths behind Leroidesanimaux.
Chatlos said before the race that Singletary was prepared, but he changed his mind when the field assembled in the paddock.
"I saw how much fitter the other horses were," Chatlos said.
Chatlos gave credit to Leroidesanimaux, who has won six consecutive starts.
"I got beat by the best miler in the country," Chatlos said. "I've got to give him credit. He's the best."
Big Cap business a big success
Track officials were pleased with business on Saturday's program.
The ontrack crowd of 35,484 was the highest of the meeting, and a 28 percent gain over the corresponding day a year ago.
Mutuel handle figures also rose, but less significantly. The ontrack handle of $6,410,798 was a gain of 18 percent over 2004. The all-sources handle, including statewide and nationwide handle, was $22,675,695, the 10th-highest in track history. All-sources handle was up 5.4 percent.
The increases were much needed and welcomed during a winter in which near-record rainfall has fallen in Los Angeles.
"I think it could jump-start the meeting," said Ron Charles, the president of parent company Magna Entertainment's California division. "It showed the enthusiasm that people have for good racing."
The meeting runs through April 18. Typically, less rain falls in March and April, giving Charles hope that business will be strong in coming weeks.
Ontrack handle has fallen 10 percent, he said. Total handle is also down, but did not cite a figure.
"We're holding our own," Charles said of the handle. "We're monitoring it and keeping our fingers crossed."
Few will take on Sweet Catomine in Oaks
Sweet Catomine, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004, will have few rivals when she makes her second start of the year in Sunday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
Owned by Marty and Pam Wygod and trained by Julio Canani, Sweet Catomine is expected to face Cream Donut Keith, Guaranteed Victory, and Pussycat Doll. The Grade 1 Oaks is run at 1 1/16 miles.
In the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes on Jan. 16, Sweet Catomine won her fourth consecutive race, all in stakes. She finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of Pussycat Doll.
Saturday's top race is the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
The probable starters include A. P. Adventure, Dream of Summer, Good Student, Hollywood Story, Miss Loren, Salt Champ, and Sweet Lips. All are stakes winners.
Visiting Prado hit with suspension
Jockey Edgar Prado, who is based at Gulfstream Park in Florida but rode on the Santa Anita Handicap program here, has been given a three-day suspension for careless riding in Saturday's third race.
Prado's mount, Canteen, drifted out in the stretch, carrying Hammer Back to the outside. Canteen finished a nose in front of Hammer Back but was disqualified and placed second. The two finished eight lengths in front of third-place finisher Brave Charmer. The suspension runs Wednesday through Friday.
* After an incident in the same race, jockeys Garrett Gomez and Patrick Valenzuela were fined by track stewards on Sunday for a ruckus in the jockeys' room. Gomez was fined $200, while Valenzuela was fined $100.
The two finished seven positions apart. Valenzuela rode Awesome Jet, who finished fourth, while Gomez and Somuch Higher finished last. On the turn, Valenzuela checked Awesome Jet, who fell back quickly and into the path of Somuch Higher.