07/31/2008 12:00AM

Win puts Zappa on path to Pacific Classic


DEL MAR, Calif. - Zappa earned an automatic berth to the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 with his win in Wednesday's $150,000 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar.

First, co-owner Gary Barber has a more lucrative goal on his mind - the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24.

Barber said Zappa would be considered for the richest race of the Del Mar meeting after the 6-year-old gelding led throughout the Cougar II Handicap, run at 1 1/2 miles on the Polytrack.

"I want to see how he comes out of it," Barber said. "Maybe we can run in the Pacific Classic."

Ridden by Garrett Gomez for trainer John Sadler, Zappa ($9.80) led by as many as seven lengths and won by 6 1/4 lengths in 2:30.53. Tissy Fit, also owned by Barber and his brother Cecil and trained by Sadler, finished second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of 3-5 favorite Big Booster.

"We just literally tried to steal it, and Garrett did a beautiful job of it," Sadler said.

Earlier this year, Big Booster won the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap at about 1 3/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita. He was last of seven for the first 1 1/4 miles of the Cougar II.

Big Booster has the BC Marathon as a long-term goal, trainer Mike Mitchell said.

"I think that should set him up," Mitchell said.

Zappa, who is by Afternoon Deelites, has won 12 of 33 starts and $449,032. He won the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita in January. The Cougar II Handicap ended a five-race losing streak dating back to that race.

Snapshot brings quick works to debut

After displaying quick workouts in recent weeks, Snapshot, an Awesome Again colt, makes his debut for owner-breeders Pam and Marty Wygod and trainer Clifford Sise in Saturday's seventh race at Del Mar.

Sise is not sure what to expect.

"He's a nice horse," Sise said. "Is he ready? I don't know. He can run."

Run at 5 1/2 furlongs, the maiden special weight race has drawn 14 and will be limited to 12 starters. Snapshot is one of nine first-time starters drawn into the main body of the race.

Meteore, a Pulpit colt, makes his debut for trainer Richard Mandella. Meteore has impressed Mandella with his recent gate works.

"When he works from the gate, he takes it seriously and is tough to beat," Mandella said.

Peter Miller starts Launch the Bull, a Holy Bull colt that he hopes will develop into a contender for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3. "That would be ideal," Miller said. He was less enthusiastic that Launch the Bull drew the rail. "The rail is always tough," Miller said.

Of the horses that have run, Fiery Rebel and Gato Go Win, who were second and fourth at Hollywood Park on July 13, will attract support.

Proud Tower Too back in training

Proud Tower Too, the multiple stakes winner who stood his first season at stud earlier this year, has resumed training, leaving trainer Sal Gonzalez optimistic that the millionaire can make a comeback.

A winner of 7 of 22 starts and $1,735,572, Proud Tower Too won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in 2005 and the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai in 2006. Owned by Tricar Stables, Proud Tower Too was retired in late 2007 because of a recurring tendon injury. He has not started since finishing second in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap in February 2007.

Proud Tower Too, 6, has been exercised for the last 30 days at a farm after being bred to approximately 20 mares earlier this year at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif.

"He could start galloping in 30 days," Gonzalez said. "The tendon looks good."

Del Mar Oaks for Storm Mesa

Storm Mesa, who stretched her winning streak to five with a victory in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap last Saturday, is staying in California for the $400,000 Del Mar Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Aug. 16. The race will be her Grade 1 debut.

Trainer Bret Calhoun said that "everything has gone right" since the San Clemente for Storm Mesa. The San Clemente was Storm Mesa's turf debut. She was shuffled in traffic on the backstretch and rallied on the final turn to win her first start in California.

"I think it was an extremely impressive race," he said. "You could say it was a blessing in disguise to get shuffled back. I don't think that's a good thing against any type of horses. She was definitely tons the best in there."

Owned by Richard Davis, Storm Mesa has a winning streak that includes the Cinemine Stakes at Lone Star Park in May and the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows in June.