08/20/2007 12:00AM

Student Council win eases Migliore's move west


DEL MAR, Calif. – The past year has not been easy for jockey Richard Migliore, or for his wife, Carmela, and their four kids. Migliore decided to move west last fall, but with his kids still in school, moving the family from New York was not considered an option. So, Migliore has lived a bi-coastal life, flying to New York as often as possible between Sunday nights and Wednesday mornings when Santa Anita and Hollywood Park were running.

This summer, though, the Migliore family has been in one place, and for the first time, it was not at Saratoga, where Migliore spent 26 straight seasons. At Del Mar, they have had to get used to Roberto's fish tacos instead of Hattie's fried chicken, watching Yankee games on television at 4:30 p.m., and going to the beach instead of a lake.

For Migliore, as with all riders on this circuit, he had to get used to riding on the new Polytrack surface. Migliore is just 10th in the rider standings, below his expectations, and his frustrations with Polytrack have mounted with every horse that has struggled on it, like Bordonaro in Sunday's Pat O'Brien Handicap.

But in his first summer at Del Mar, Migliore picked off the richest race of the meet when he rode Student Council to victory on Sunday in the Pacific Classic. He went through a flood of emotions.

"I went from overjoyed when this horse won the race to overwhelmed when I saw my wife and kids in the winner's circle after the race," Migliore said. "There's been a lot of sacrifice for Carmela, for the kids, for me. When you make a move like that, there's times when you question whether it's worth it. Then there's times like this when you realize it was a no-brainer."

Migliore called the Pacific Classic win "in the top five, without a doubt" of races he has won.

"This is a racetrack with a tremendous amount of history, and it's writing a new chapter," Migliore said. " I definitely miss Saratoga. I love it up there. But this made for a fabulous summer."

According to Vladimir Cerin, who trains Student Council, Migliore rode the race exactly as they had hoped it would unfold.

"He's a master at executing the plan, if he had enough horse," Cerin said. "The word 'cerebral' is not often used with riders, but with this jock, it applies."

Migliore's take on Polytrack

Even though he won the richest race ever run on Polytrack, Migliore said he's "still not 100 percent sold on Polytrack, to be frank."

"It's hard to assess how horses do in the mornings with how they'll show up in the afternoon," Migliore said. "They slog through it. Temperature definitely plays a role.

"I've had some horses I've worked in the morning who I thought would be cinches in the afternoon, and they're not the same horse."

Tiago to Super Derby or Goodwood

Tiago, the leading 3-year-old in California this year, was scratched from Sunday's $1 million Pacific Classic after trainer John Shirreffs said he lacked confidence in Del Mar's Polytrack synthetic surface.

Shirreffs said that Tiago had "trained very well," but said that the surface "is just too new."

"It's hard to have a feeling for it," he said. "I don't have knowledge of how they'll run. There's so much difference between the morning and the afternoon, it's hard to pinpoint."

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Tiago has won 3 of 7 starts and $815,270, including the Santa Anita Derby and Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes earlier this year. He was seventh in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont Stakes.

Shirreffs said that Tiago would be considered for the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 22 or the $500,000 Goodwood Stakes against older horses over 1 1/8 miles at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Sept. 29. The Goodwood has been run as a handicap in past years, but is being run as a weight-for-age stakes this year.

One BC prep for Greg's Gold

Greg's Gold, who won the Pat O'Brien to earn an automatic berth in the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Sprint through the "Win and You're In Program," will have one prep before going to Monmouth Park, trainer David Hofmans said.

Hofmans said he is considering the Grade 1, $300,000 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Oct. 7, or the Grade 3, $150,000 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

"I'll see how he handles the Cushion Track at Santa Anita and go from there," Hofmans said.

Hofmans said he was gratified Greg's Gold ran well in the O'Brien after competing in the Bing Crosby on July 29.

"He was coming back quick," Hofmans said. "He'll have a similar schedule because the races at Oak Tree and Keeneland are about three weeks before the Breeders' Cup."

Jockey Club accepts 'Nutzapper'

With racy names for his horses like Isitingood and Love on the Rail, Mike Pegram has enjoyed seeing what he can get past the censors who approve names at the Jockey Club. Pegram has a kindred spirit in Andy Hillis, who races as Team Green. Hillis somehow got Nutzapper approved by the Jockey Club. Nutzapper, 2, a gelding by Unusual Heat, makes his debut in Wednesday's third race.

"I was watching the Jay Leno Show one night, and he was talking about a male contraceptive," Hillis said Monday. "Kevin Eubanks said, 'You mean a nutzapper.' I thought that would be a good name for a horse, like Ghostzapper.

"The Jockey Club questioned the name. I told them that as a young boy growing up in Canada, we would boil walnuts in oil, put they on salads, and they were very tasty. I told them that's where nutzapper came from. It's kind of amazing. I've never even been to Canada. I just made the whole thing up on the spot. Hopefully, he's destined to be a champion."

– additional reporting by Steve Andersen