07/18/2008 11:00PM

Track records falling quickly on Polytrack


DEL MAR, Calif. - The distinction of setting a track record at Del Mar this summer will be a fleeting sensation. They don't seem to have much shelf life during the first few days of the meeting.

After a 2007 meeting of slow times on the Polytrack, the track is playing quicker this year. Already in the first three days of the meeting, the record for 5 1/2 furlongs has been lowered twice.

The latest titleholder is Streamin Heat, who zipped the distance in 1:03.26 on Friday, winning the $137,450 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes for 2-year-old statebred fillies. She beat a day-old record of 1:03.98 set by the maiden claimer Goodday. Records also were set in the first three days over six furlongs, 6 1/2 furlongs, and a mile.

Within a few weeks, all of the main-track records are likely to be re-established. The faster track is part of a renovation of the Polytrack conducted over the winter by Del Mar management. More material was added to the surface, primarily wax, and a watering program was launched.

Last year, the surface was not watered. Trainers complained the track was quick in the mornings, when temperatures were cool, but that the course was slow and laboring during the afternoon when the sun came out.

The sun made only infrequent appearances Friday when the temperature reached 78.

Streamin Heat won her stakes debut in the CTBA Stakes. Ridden by Julio Garcia, Streamin Heat led throughout and held off a late run from Maryland invader Saucey Evening to win by a half-length. Streamin Heat set early fractions of 22.04 and 45.17 seconds, leading by as many as 1 1/2 lengths through the first half-mile.

"When I saw her pricking her ears going down the backstretch, I had a better feeling about it," said Blake Heap, assistant trainer to Wesley Ward. "I was glad no one was looking her in the eye."

Streamin Heat, by Bring the Heat, is owned by Richard Ravin. The filly has won 2 of 3 starts and $118,758. Bred by Ward, she will be considered for the $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes for California-bred 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs on Aug. 27, Heap said.

Heap has an interesting perspective on the changing racetrack at Del Mar. During the mornings, he works as an outrider on the racetrack. In that job, he works in a safety capacity for jockeys and exercise riders and hears a variety of opinions on the condition of the racetrack.

"The water helps," Heap said. "It's way better. Most people are pretty happy."

Model favored in optional claimer

Model, a 4-year-old filly trained by Neil Drysdale, has made one start on a synthetic track in her career, finishing second in the restricted Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita in April.

The performance will make her the favorite to win an optional claimer over a mile on the synthetic main track in Monday's second race at Del Mar.

"I think she likes this racetrack," Drysdale said. "She ran well at Santa Anita."

Owned by Abergwaun Farm, Model has won 2 of 8 starts and $131,366. She has placed in three stakes in her career, including a third in the Yerba Buena Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Golden Gate Fields on June 8.

"It might have been a bit too far," Drysdale said.

In Monday's race, Model is part of a field of five. Snake Proof won the El Paso Times Handicap at Sunland Park in January, but was fourth in an optional claimer over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park in June. Street Match won an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on July 4 and is seeking her third win in her last four starts for trainer Bull Currin.

Mast Track drills over Del Mar Polytrack

Mast Track, the upset winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 28, worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds Saturday, his first workout over Del Mar's Polytrack surface. Mast Track is a candidate for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24, the richest race of the meeting.

Mast Track, 4, worked alone and was ridden by jockey Jose Dominguez, according to Humberto Ascanio, Bobby Frankel's assistant trainer.

"He's a good work horse," Ascanio said.

Mast Track's time was below the average of 48.78 seconds for 62 recorded works at the distance Saturday. Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Mast Track, who won his first stakes in the Gold Cup, has won 5 of 10 starts and $614,622.

Warning Zone targeting Del Mar Handicap

Warning Zone, winner of the Grade 2 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 13, has resumed training and is on course for the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Aug. 23, trainer John Sadler said.

If Warning Zone is successful in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, Sadler said the 4-year-old colt could be considered for the Breeders' Cup Turf at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Oct. 25.

"The main thing is that this year it's in our own backyard," Sadler said of the Breeders' Cup. "We'll space him for the long-distance races."

Owned by Rising Sun Racing Stables, Warning Zone has won 4 of 15 starts and $394,110.

The Sunset Handicap over 1 1/2 miles was his first stakes win since the minor War Chant Stakes over a mile on turf last November.

"His best races are a mile and half or farther," Sadler said.