FRANKEL TO SADDLE PAIR IN GRADE I GAMELY HANDICAP
Trainer Bobby Frankel usually needs only one bullet to get the job done in the $200,000 Gamely Handicap for fillies and mares. The Hall-of-Fame conditioner has won four of the last six runnings of the Grade I race, scoring with Possibly Perfect (1995), Toussaud (1993), Metamorphose (1992) and Double Wedge (1990). Frankel will show up for next Sunday's 30th Gamely armed not with one, but two bullets -- Juddmonte Farms' Didina and Flaxman Holdings Ltd.'s Angel In My Heart. The latter has raced five times in California with one victory and four seconds. Her runner-up efforts were in events that read like a what's what of distaff turf racing in California: the Grade I Matriarch, the Grade I Yellow Ribbon, the Grade I Santa Ana, and most recently, the Grade II Santa Barbara. Didina also has performed well for Frankel since arriving from England last fall. The daughter of Nashwan has run especially well at Hollywood Park, winning the Grade II Dahlia and a $46,000 allowance, and finishing second in the Grade II Wilshire. The only off-the-board finish of her career was a fourth in the Grade II Buena Vista Handicap at Santa Anita on March 2. Early probables for the 30th running of the Gamely Handicap, to be decided at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course: Auriette, Kent Desormeaux; Didina, Eddie Delahoussaye; Matiara, Chris McCarron; Pharma, Corey Nakatani; Angel In My Heart, Gary Stevens; and Flagbird, no rider. Possible: Radu Cool, no rider.
LET BOB DO IT DRILLS A MILE FOR THE CINEMA HANDICAP
John Sadler said a key to being a successful trainer is being able to project a hidden quality in a thoroughbred. Case in point is the 3-year-old gelding Let Bob Do It. After watching the obscurely-bred son of Percifal score at 10-1 odds in the restricted Pirate Cove Stakes at Santa Anita on March 1, Sadler had seen enough to make him believe the horse had a future on turf.
"You have to have an imagination," Sadler said. "In the case of (Let Bob Do It), I liked the way he ran on turf in the Pirate Cove. It was his first time on grass, and sometimes a young horse can be telling you something. And I liked his Ragozin (Sheet) number. It was very good."
Sadler approached trainer Mike Mitchell and offered a reported $110,000 on behalf of clients Bob Levy and Alex Karkenny. Mitchell, who had claimed Let Bob Do It for $40,000 prior to the Pirate Cove, discussed the offer with owners Gary and Tim Burke, and a deal was struck.
In his first start under Sadler, Let Bob Do It finished a strong second to Pike Place Dancer in the Grade III California Derby at Bay Meadows, and he then came back to score a convincing 3 1/2-length victory in the Will Rogers Handicap at Hollywood Park. Next up is the $125,000-added Cinema Handicap on Saturday, June 8, and Let Bob Do It prepped for the event Sunday by working one mile in 1:42 4/5 on the turf with Kent Desormeaux up. "He's just a medium-sized horse, nothing fancy to look at," Sadler said. "He's just a blue-collar kind of horse who goes about his business. The key, of course, is that he really likes the turf."
Needless to say, the new owners have already shown a profit on their investment. "And so have the people we bought the horse from. Everyone's happy," Sadler said.
Early probables for the 50th running of the Cinema Handicap, to be decided at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course: Dr. Sardonica, Chris Antley; Far Easter, Eddie Delahoussaye; Let Bob Do It, Kent Desormeaux; Mortlock, Corey Nakatani; Nightcapper, Rene Douglas; Private Gift, no rider; Winter Quarters, Alex Solis, and Zanferrier, no rider.
SIPHON BRUISES FOOT, DECLARED FROM CALIFORNIAN
Rio Claro Thoroughbreds' Siphon, 3-1 on the morning line for Sunday's $250,000 Californian, bruised a foot and was scratched from the Grade I race by trainer Richard Mandella.
Mandella said the injury occurred Sunday morning. "It doesn't look like it's anything bad," Mandella said. "But there's no way we could run him today (in The Californian)." Siphon, assuming he recovers without complication, might make his next start in the $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30, Mandella said. "The Gold Cup's a possibility, and I might look around at races in New York or Maryland, and see what's out there," he said.
McCARRON, STEVENS BOUND FOR BELMONT STAKES
Jockeys Chris McCarron and Gary Stevens will be absent from the local scene Friday and Saturday as they head to New York for the 128th running of the Belmont Stakes.
In the Belmont, McCarron will ride Cavonnier for trainer Bob Baffert and Stevens has the call on Editor's Note for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
In addition, McCarron will ride Savinio for trainer Walter Greenman, and Jerry Bailey will be aboard Dernier Empereur for Ben Cecil in the $200,000 Early Times Manhattan (Gr. I) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
BELMONT STAKES SIMULCAST SATURDAY
Fans at Hollywood Park and all satellite wagering facilities will be able to watch and wager on the Belmont Stakes -- the final jewel of the Triple Crown at a grueling 1 1/2 miles -- on Saturday, June 8.
FINISH LINES: Tejano Run is scheduled to run in the $150,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 15, and a good showing would prompt trainer Kenneth McPeek to ship the 1995 Kentucky Derby runner-up West for the $1-million Holllywood Gold Cup on June 30 . . . Reminder: There is special Monday night racing on June 10. Post time is 7 p.m. . . . Hall-of-Fame trainer Jack Van Berg celebrates his 60th birthday Friday . . . Budroyale, who was scratched from Saturday's Harry Henson Stakes, drilled seven furlongs in 1:30 4/5 at Santa Anita . . . Trainer Paco Gonzalez began Sunday one victory short of the 200 mark for his career . . . The $200,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (Gr. III) on June 30 is shaping up as an outstanding race with Afternoon Deelites, Abaginone and Paying Dues all possible for the seven-furlong race . . . Joy "Longshot" Scott was up to her old tricks Saturday when she rode Vaudvillian to a $113.20 upset for trainer Richard Lies in the fifth race. "What's so surprising?" Scott said of Saturday's victory. "I don't think that one even hit my average ($2 win payoff)." . . . Victories by Vaudvillian, Concordial ($29), Papalote ($18) and Hesabull ($18.60) helped produce a track record three-day Pick Six carryover of $869,071.45 . . . Alphabet Soup, unraced since a 10th-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, remains in light training and will be geared up for a late- summer/fall campaign according to assistant trainer Grant Hofmans. Grant, son of trainer David Hofmans, was set to travel up the coast to saddle Reyla Graber's Salsa Dancer in Sunday's $50,000 Andestine Handicap at Golden Gate Fields . . . Joseph Imbesi's Joker is expected to ship from New Jersey for the $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (Gr. II) on June 16. Guadalupe Preciado trains the 4-year-old son of Gentleman Gene . . . Corey Nakatani began Sunday with 497 career victories at Hollywood Park . . . . Borodislew, who runs next in the $200,000 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (Gr. I) on June 23, drilled three furlongs in :37 2/5 . . . Verne Winchell's Future Quest worked seven furlongs in 1:28 4/5 and is close to race-ready for trainer Ron McAnally. The Relaunch colt has been out since he suffered a knee fracture while winning the Norfolk Stakes at Oak Tree on Oct. 8 . . . Alyrob worked three furlongs in :35 and is scheduled to run in the $125,000-added Affirmed Handicap (Gr. III) on June 30.
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