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Sacred Light, Balance control their destiny
ARCADIA, Calif. - From California to Kentucky, owners John and Jerry Amerman and trainer David Hofmans will have a 3-year-old colt and filly in major stakes next Saturday.
How Sacred Light runs in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby and the brilliant filly Balance fares in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland will determine where those two run in May.
It is possible that Balance could run in the Kentucky Oaks on May 5, a day before Sacred Light starts in the Kentucky Derby, although Hofmans stopped short of predicting that on Friday.
Hofmans and the Amermans are considering bringing Balance back to California after the Ashland Stakes to start her on turf at Hollywood Park, with the $750,000 American Oaks on July 2 as a long-term goal.
Hofmans qualified his thoughts by saying that Balance could still start in the Kentucky Oaks.
'The Oaks is still under debate," he said.
Balance is at the top of her division, having won two Grade 1 races this year - the Las Virgenes Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks. She thrives on racing, Hofmans said.
"You can't give her too much time off," he said. "If I give her time, she becomes wild."
Sacred Light is winless in three starts this year, but Hofmans insists the Holy Bull colt is improving. After finishing third in an allowance race on Jan. 20, Sacred Light returned to finish third in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on Feb. 4 and second to top 3-year-old Brother Derek in the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes on March 4.
"He's like a clumsy teenager," Hofmans said. "Every time I work him, he wakes up."
Hofmans isn't worried whether Sacred Light can handle the Santa Anita Derby distance of 1 1/8 miles. He was pleased that the speedy Fast Parade, the winner of the Baldwin Stakes on March 4, was added to the field last week.
"I feel good about the distance," he said. "I was worried about the pace, but not any more."
Brother Derek has been outstanding this year, winning the San Rafael and the Santa Catalina stakes. He will be a strong favorite in the Santa Anita Derby, which is expected to include A. P. Warrior, Indy Wildcat, and Point Determined.
A. P. Warrior breezed six furlongs in 1:12.80 at Hollywood Park on Friday, which equaled the second fastest of 31 recorded works at the distance.
Hofmans needs Sacred Light to finish well in the Santa Anita Derby to justify a start in the Kentucky Derby. In addition, a win or a placing in the Santa Anita Derby would give Sacred Light much-needed graded-stakes earnings, which are used to determine the Kentucky Derby field if the race draws more than 20 entrants.
Bluesthestandard back with Glatt
For the third time in his five-year, 47-race career, Bluesthe-standard is joining trainer Mark Glatt's barn.
On behalf of owner Steve Sobel of Irvine, Calif., Glatt claimed Bluesthestandard on Thursday for $12,500 after the 9-year-old gelding won a claiming race at a mile.
Bluesthestandard, who has won 19 races and earned $1,041,618, has won three stakes and was second in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint. One of his stakes wins was the 2003 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap, which is being run on Sunday.
Glatt claimed Bluethestandard for Sobel and two other partners in February 2002 when the then 5-year-old won a $10,000 claimer for sprinters. He won his next start later that month, was claimed away for $16,000, but then taken again by Glatt and the partnership for $10,000 in March 2002. Bluesthestandard remained in Glatt's barn for 10 starts, including four wins, before being claimed for $50,000 by Ted H. West and owner Jeffrey Sengara. Bluesthestandard won his stakes for West and Sengara before dropping back into claiming races in March 2005.
Glatt and Sobel had been following Bluesthestandard in recent starts and decided this was a good time to make an investment.
Glatt said Sobel has an excellent chance to recoup his purchase price, but that Bluesthestandard may not have many more starts.
"As long as I feel he's getting around good enough to compete, he'll compete," Glatt said. "I don't think we'll get overly ambitious. We know what he is.
"You could have a lot worse horse sitting in your backyard. We could be the ones to give him a good home."
Goodrich will work for Fairplex
Cliff Goodrich, a former president of Santa Anita, has been hired as a consultant by the Los Angeles County Fair, which is hoping to expand the Fairplex Park track in Pomona to attract more racing dates.
Goodrich recently resigned as president of Arlington Park, near Chicago, and is in the process of moving back to Southern California.
Fairplex Park currently runs a brief fair meeting on a five-eighth-mile track on the Los Angeles County fairgrounds each September. The track would like to expand its oval and add a turf course.
Goodrich left Santa Anita in 1999, shortly after the track was acquired by Magna Entertain-ment. He spent two years working for the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation, a backstretch charity.
Disputed claim reversed
The disputed claim of the filly Road Runner Robyn, who was involved in a race last summer at Del Mar that was declared no contest by track stewards, has been ruled valid by the California Horse Racing Board.
The board, meeting in executive session, voted to follow the recommendations of an administrative law judge who heard the case. Richard Shapiro, the board's chairman, signed off on the case on behalf of the board.
At the time of the race, the first on Sept. 4, the claim was ruled invalid by the stewards, who deemed that since the race was no contest, claims were thus voided. The race was declared no contest because of an accident nearing the far turn that impacted several runners in the race.
However, Peter Miller, who trained Road Runner Robyn, argued that the claim should have been valid because Road Runner Robyn did, indeed, start in a race that subsequently was declared no contest. The claim was for $62,500.
"There are no winners in this situation," Miller said. "But I'm happy the board made the difficult, but correct, decision. It's a tough situation that I wish never would have happened."
Drawing for Del Mar dining
Del Mar will conduct an online drawing from Monday through Wednesday for table reservations at three of the track's restaurants for two major days - the meeting's opening day, July 19, and Pacific Classic day, Aug. 20.
The online drawing will be held for reservations in the Clubhouse Terrace, Stretch Run Grill, and Cafe del Sol.
The drawing runs from 9 a.m. on Monday through 5 p.m. on Wednesday at delmarracing.com. Each entrant can request only one table for four people. Winning applicants will be notified by email. There is no cost to enter the drawing, but tables cost $100.
- additional reporting by Jay Privman