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Updated on 09/15/2011 1:42PM
Weight is the issue for Tranquility Lake
DEL MAR, Calif. - Trainer Julio Canani was contemplating moving turf specialist Tranquility Lake to the dirt for Sunday's Grade 2 $300,000 Clement Hirsch Handicap, but said Monday morning at Del Mar that he expected to get "four or five pounds" from Gourmet Girl.
He got just two, and now it looks like Canani will look east for Tranquility Lake's next race. Del Mar's racing office assigned Gourmet Girl top weight of 122 pounds, only two more than Tranquility Lake. Saudi Poetry, who is back in California after a successful spring and summer at Churchill Downs, got in with only 116 pounds.
Gourmet Girl comes off a front-running victory in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park. It was her second Grade 1 stakes victory this year, following the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park. Tranquility Lake most recently finished second on turf in the Ramona Handicap here on July 21. She has not raced on dirt for more than two years. Saudi Poetry won the Grade 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap and Grade 3 Fleur de Lis Handicap in her last two starts in Kentucky.
"If they don't give me the right weight, I'll go back East with her," Canani said after Tranquility Lake breezed three furlongs in 35.40 seconds Monday.
Canani said that if he wants to move Tranquility Lake to the dirt, he would run in the Grade 1, $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park on Sept. 15. If he chooses to keep the mare on turf, he could run in the Grade 2, $500,000 Diana Handicap at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga on Sept. 3.
Gourmet Girl completed her serious preparation for the Hirsch by working six furlongs in 1:13.60 on Sunday morning at Santa Anita. She will be ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye. Gary Stevens, who rode Gourmet Girl in the Vanity, will be at Monmouth Park on Sunday to ride Point Given in the $1.5 million Haskell Invitational.
In addition to Gourmet Girl and Saudi Poetry, others expected for the Hirsch include Lovellon, Nany's Sweep, and Printemps.
Rematch in Pacific Classic
Skimming, Futural, and Captain Steve, the first three finishers in Sunday's San Diego Handicap, all came out of the race in good condition and will have a rematch in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19, their trainers said.
Skimming won the San Diego for the second straight year to bring his Del Mar record to 3 for 3. He is the defending champion in the Pacific Classic. His trainer, Bobby Frankel, has won the Pacific Classic five times in its 10 runnings.
Skimming and Futural have developed quite a rivalry of late, beginning with three races at Hollywood Park. Futural was first and Skimming second in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, but then Skimming was first and Futural second in the Californian Stakes. Their most infamous meeting came in the Hollywood Gold Cup, in which Futural crossed the wire first, but was disqualified when the stewards ruled he interfered with Skimming in the stretch run.
Craig Lewis fed up with Flores
Jockey David Flores is a victim of Craig Lewis's three-strikes law. Twice at Hollywood Park, Flores took off of Lewis-trained runners who were entered in the day's final race. When Flores did it again at Del Mar on Saturday, Lewis went to Del Mar's stewards and demanded that Flores be removed immediately from scheduled mounts the jockey had for the trainer on Sunday and Monday.
"It doesn't matter what his excuse is," Lewis said Monday. Lewis did not want to elaborate, but stressed that his issues were solely with Flores, and not the jockey's agent, Jim Pegram. "His agent is the best guy I've ever dealt with. His behavior has been exemplary," Lewis said.
Kamsack points toward Futurity
Kamsack, a maiden winner in his debut on Saturday, will be supplemented to the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5, trainer Christopher Paasch said.
"I don't know how good he is, but he's a special horse," Paasch said. "If we want to find out if we have one of the best 2-year-olds, we'll learn right here."
Owned by Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez, Kamsack was purchased for $230,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in-training sale in February.
Paasch also trains Collect Call, who was third in the Kentucky Oaks and second in the Hollywood Oaks in her last two starts. He said she will be pointed for the $750,000 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 18.
Collect Call was being considered for the Del Mar Oaks on turf on the same day, but did not work well on that surface last week, finishing six furlongs in 1:20.80.
"Despite her breeding, she is not a turf horse," Paasch said of the Meadowlake filly.
Blanc ready to ride again
Jockey Brice Blanc, who has not ridden since being involved in a spill on opening day, has been booked to ride Extreme Delight in Wednesday's fourth race.
Blanc was in the stable area on Sunday morning and considers himself lucky not to have been more seriously injured in a two-horse spill in the second race on July 18.
Blanc was struck on the lower back and knee by his mount, Gin Running, after he fell. He said he left knee has been sore for the last two weeks, but has improved in recent days.
"I've been doing laser therapy, and it helped," Blanc said. "It's still a little tender, but I feel a little better.
"I never saw the replay, but a lot of people said it was bad. I think if I hadn't been wearing the [safety vest] it would been worse. I might have broken something in my back. Hopefully, we'll finish the meeting better than it got started."
Vaquero, who won Saturday's final race, is wheeled right back for the same $10,000 claiming price in Wednesday's first race.
"He came back good. He's a trooper," said Gary Benson, the assistant to Vaquero's trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr. "He's an old warrior."
* Newport Beach, a blazing maiden winner here the first week of the meet for trainer Bob Baffert, worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds in preparation for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Her scheduled rivals include Georgia's Storm, the Landaluce Stakes winner, and Godolphin Racing's Tempera, a recent maiden winner.
* Bienamado, preparing for the Arlington Million, worked seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Monday morning in 1:28.40. His trainer, Paco Gonzalez, said Bienamado will have another seven-furlong drill, then a five-furlong work, before the Aug. 18 Million.
- additional reporting by Steve Andersen