08/26/2007 11:00PM

Shirreffs set for Oak Tree


DEL MAR, Calif. - For a guy who has had little action this summer, including electing to withdraw Tiago from the Pacific Classic, trainer John Shirreffs has had a productive Del Mar meeting. This past week, he won two stakes races, including Sunday's Del Mar Handicap with After Market and an overnight stakes race on Friday with Imagine.

Now, all three of those horses will be pointed to important stakes races the first part of Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, which begins Sept. 26, Shirreffs said at his barn Monday morning. After Market will shoot for his fifth straight victory in the Grade 1, $250,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf on Oct. 6. Imagine will make her graded stakes debut in the Grade 1, $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes, also at 1 1/4 miles on turf, on Sept. 29. And Tiago, who has not raced since winning the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, will also race Sept. 29, in the Grade 1, $500,000 Goodwood Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Shirreffs said the Hirsch is the ideal race for After Market, because "a mile and a quarter suits him really well." The Breeders' Cup's open grass races, however, are at 1 1/2 miles (Turf) and one mile. So, following the Hirsch, a decision will have to be made - Shirreffs is deferring to owner Marty Wygod - on which Breeders' Cup race is most suitable.

"You'll have to look at the field for each one of the races - the numbers of horses, who is going to be in it," Shirreffs said. "He's very versatile."

Following the race on Sunday, Shirreffs said,: "Distance will be no problem. If he runs a mile and a half, it's no problem."

As if to cover his bases, on Monday Shirreffs added, "With his particular style of running, it wouldn't be hard to freshen him up and run a mile."

Regardless, Shirreffs said After Market will be aggressively trained. He said the colt, who is big and strong, "needs a lot of exercise."

"That's why he's been running a lot," Shirreffs said. "And it's nice to have a horse so well campaigned when you're coming up to a championship race."

After Market has won two Grade 1 races this year, including the Eddie Read Handicap here earlier in the meet.

"In the afternoons, that Storm Cat in him will come out," Shirreffs said. "He gets big and strong. But he can turn it off. He loves to stand. He's got a really good mind on him.

"That's the Mott foundation coming out in him," Shirreffs said, referring to Bill Mott, who trained After Market until earlier this year. "Mott loves to stand his horses. After Market learned that lesson well."

Imagine, who won the California Thoroughbred Trainers and Thoroughbred Owners of California Handicap on Friday, will "absolutely" go on to the Yellow Ribbon, Shirreffs said. Imagine, 4, a California-bred daughter of Giant's Causeway, has won 3 of her last 4 starts.

"She's got such a nice way of moving," Shirreffs said. "She does it so effortlessly."

Rosario gets 10-day ban

Jockey Martin Garcia was lucky to walk away from terrifying accident in the stretch run of the third race on Saturday. Jockey Joel Rosario swerved his mount, Fandabidoo, to the right at midstretch, causing Garcia's mount, Sunshine Ridge, suddenly to clip heels and fall, throwing Garcia to the ground. Remarkably, neither horse nor rider was seriously injured.

Garcia shrugged it off on Saturday by returning to win later on the card, and he shrugged it off Monday.

"I was a little sore, but that's normal," Garcia said. "You can't get mad. It's part of the job. You just have to hope the other guy will be a little more careful."

Garcia won with the promising 2-year-old colt Dodgen Bullets later in the day for trainer Bob Baffert.

"He was green," Garcia said. "He was dragging me on the backside, but when he got to the lead he didn't know whether to go or stop. He's a nice horse."

Rosario got a 10-day suspension from Del Mar's stewards for the ride. Rosario's suspension begins Sunday and includes dates during the Fairplex meeting, which begins Sept. 7.

Sip One for Mom retired

Sip One for Mom, the winner of the 2006 Solana Beach Handicap, has been retired after suffering a recurrence of a sesamoid injury, according to trainer Jorge Gutierrez.

The injury first occurred last fall. Sip One for Mom was entered for Saturday's Solana Beach Handicap but did not start after the injury was detected earlier in the day. Sip One for Mom, 5, won 3 of 19 starts and $219,766.

A decision on breeding plans will be made in coming months, according to Montie Wickcliffe, farm manager for owner Ben Warren.

"She's all through," Wickcliffe said. "She'll be a broodmare."

Gutierrez said his stable had a rough day on Saturday, losing four horses to injury. None was euthanized. Aside from Sip One for Mom, he said he had two horses suffer suspensory injuries and one suffered a tendon injury. All were shipped out of Del Mar.

"It was a bad day," he said. "For the most part, it's been a good meeting, but that was a bad day."

Bai and Bai headed for Turfway

Bai and Bai, the winner of Saturday's Solana Beach Handicap, will be pointed for the $175,000 Turfway Park Breeders' Cup Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack in Kentucky on Sept. 29, trainer Craig Dollase said on Sunday.

Owned by the Bob and Beverly Lewis Trust, Bai and Bai, 4, has won 7 of 18 starts and $416,318. Second in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Handicap here in early August, Bai and Bai has yet to win a graded stakes, which makes the Grade 3 Turfway Park BC Stakes attractive, Dollase said.

"I'm assuming she'd be one of the top three choices," Dollase said.

Day visiting for chaplaincy

Pat Day, the Hall of Fame jockey, has been working for the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America since his retirement in 2005, and is at Del Mar for the first time in three years. He was to speak at a church service in the track kitchen on Monday night, then host a festival for racing and backstretch employees in the infield on Tuesday afternoon.

Day's last ride at Del Mar was in the 2004 Pacific Classic, in which he finished second aboard Perfect Drift behind Pleasantly Perfect.

* Ballistic Heat is scheduled to make his fifth start of the meet in Wednesday's second race for trainer Barry Abrams, who has raced Ballistic Heat on July 19, July 30, Aug. 10, and Aug. 23.

* Lutyens, who cost $1.6 million as a yearling five years ago, will try to win a $25,000 maiden-claiming race on Wednesday. He already has failed in three tries at that level.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen