08/31/2008 11:00PM

Zucker firing with both barrels on turf


DEL MAR, Calif. - For a guy with a small barn, trainer Howard Zucker has had a very big meet this summer at Del Mar. He has sent out eight starters, and four of them have won. Three of those wins have come in turf sprints, with the fillies Synnin and Grinnin and Queen of the Catsle, and on Wednesday at Del Mar, Zucker will send out those fillies in split $65,000 divisions of the Daisycutter Handicap, attempting to add to his totals for the meet, and in turf sprints.

Synnin and Grinnin will go in the first division, the first race on the card. She already is a two-time winner at five furlongs on turf this meet. This, though, will be her toughest test. It is her stakes debut, and she is facing accomplished stakes horses like Coco Belle and Lightmyfirebaby, as well as the highly regarded South American import Eletro Nuclear.

"This is a tough race," Zucker said at his barn on Monday morning. "It seems like all the highweights in the race all wound up in the first half."

Synnin and Grinnin got in with 114 pounds, six fewer than Coco Belle.

"She ran big last time, and I expect another good effort," Zucker said. "I know it's a big jump from a nonwinners-of-one to a stake, but she seems to like the course. Both my fillies have been good to me this meet, and they deserve a chance to run here."

Queen of the Catsle will go in the second division, the fourth race on the card, which appeared to come up the weaker half. Queen of the Catsle defeated a second-level allowance field in her last start. She carries co-high weight of 115 pounds.

As in the first division, Zucker's biggest challenger figures to come from the barn of the meet's leading trainer, John Sadler. Sadler has Coco Belle in the first division, and South African import Woodland City in the second division.

"I think a lot of her," Sadler said of Woodland City, who was seventh on Polytrack in her North American debut on Aug. 1. "I think she'll do better on turf," a surface over which she is 3 for 5.

Pirate's Bounty: Record holder returns

Cost of Freedom, who set a six-furlong track record of 1:08.29 in a first-level allowance race on Aug. 9, leaps into stakes company in a wide-open $80,000 Pirate's Bounty Handicap, the seventh race on Wednesday.

A full field of 14 entered the six-furlong Pirate's Bounty, including speedsters like Black Seventeen, Devils Afleet, and High Standards.

The Aug. 9 race was the first for Cost of Freedom since being claimed by Sadler from Carla Gaines for $50,000. He is now 3 for 4 on this track.

"I thought he'd run well, but not as fast as he did," Sadler said. "He's shown a proclivity for the track. My main concern is that he's coming back too quick. I'm worried he might bounce."

Jungle Prince, third last time out in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby, should have his late kick enhanced by the expected sharp early pace.