SOUL OF THE MATTER ON GOLD CUP COURSE
Trainer Richard Mandella is happy to report Burt Bacharach's Soul Of The Matter continues on a smooth course toward the $1-million Hollywood Gold on Saturday, June 30. The West Virginia-bred son of Private Terms _ ranked No. 2 in the latest Daily Racing Form poll _ has turned in a series of steady long drills for Mandella, who is bringing the 5-year-old horse up to the 57th Gold Cup on works alone.
Although Soul Of The Matter has been plagued by foot ailments, Mandella said they have nothing to do with the lack of a prep prior to the Gold Cup. "He doesn't need a practice shot," Mandella said. "And he gives an awful lot in his races. We kind of owe it to him to give him some time." No horse has thrown a bigger scare into Cigar than did Soul Of The Matter in the $4-million Dubai World Cup on March 27. "Soul" had dead aim on Cigar in midstretch, but the champion re-rallied to win by a half-length in a thriller. Soul Of The Matter hasn't raced since, but he could have. "It's a long trip to Dubai and back, and we just wanted to make sure and give him plenty of time," Mandella said. "Really, he's doing great." Soul Of The Matter (16-7-4-2-$2,302,618) belongs near the top of anyone's list of top horses, according to Mandella.
"There aren't many as good as him," the trainer said. "I mean, he is in that top league of horses. He is eligible to beat any horse on any day." Soul Of The Matter will have a new jockey in the Gold Cup as regular rider Gary Stevens will be sidelined indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder. Mandella said he hadn't decided on a jockey but he was "studying the situation."
RADU COOL FACES TALL ORDER IN GRADE I GAMELY HANDICAP
Trainer John Shirreffs was having a tough time deciding whether to enter Radu Cool in Sunday's $200,000 Gamely Handicap (Gr. I) for fillies and mares. Radu Cool (8-4-2-0-$140,000) has never been asked to do the impossible, and Shirreffs said the cast for the Gamely is formidable.
"We'll probably at least enter her and take a closer look (at the field)," said Shirreffs, who is enjoying a fine meet with four wins and three seconds from 11 starts. "I think she can run with `em." Radu Cool isn't seen under silks very often _ she's raced only eight times in two years _ but it pays to take notice on those infrequent occasions when she does race. In her most recent start on May 17, she blew away classified allowance foes by 11 lengths in 1:40 3/5 for 1 1/16 miles on turf. Shirreffs, however, has some reservations about running the slightly built Radu Cool. The reason she's never raced much, he said, is the filly's fiery disposition and her light frame. "She's a very temperamental horse," He said. "We have to put a blanket on her when she enters the (starting) gate, and we have to watch her in her stall. She's not big and she needs a lot of time off. She can run, though."
In another development, trainer Bobby Frankel has named Alex Solis to replace Gary Stevens as jockey on Angel In My Heart.
Probables for the 30th running of the Gamely Handicap, to be decided at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course: Matiara, Chris McCarron, 119; Pharma, Corey Nakatani, 119; Angel In My Heart, Alex Solis, 118; Auriette, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Flagbird, no rider, 118, and Didina, Eddie Delahoussaye, 116. Possible: Radu Cool, no rider, 114.
DOUGLAS TO RIDE EDITOR'S NOTE IN THE BELMONT
Jockey Rene Douglas has picked up the mount on Overbrook Farm's Editor's Note in Saturday's 128th running of the Belmont Stakes. Douglas replaces Gary Stevens, who is slated for shoulder surgery and sidelined indefinitely. Editor's Note finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness Stakes. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, he is 8-1 on the morning line. Kentucky Derby runner-up Cavonnier, trained by Bob Baffert with Chris McCarron to ride, is the tepid 3-1 morning line choice in the Belmont.
SPECIAL MONDAY NIGHT CARD ON TAP AT HOLLYPARK
There will be a special Monday night card of racing at The Track of the Lakes and Flowers on June 10. First live race is at 7 p.m. General admission _ which includes parking and an official program _ for patrons 30 and under is just $1. All fans can purchase dollar beers, sodas and hot dogs. The $65,000-added Cool Air, for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, is the featured live race on the nine race program.
SIZING UP THE SHOE
Early probables for the $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile, to be run Sunday, June 16 (3-year-olds, 113 pounds; older, 124 pounds): Debutant Trick, Kent Desormeaux; Fastness, Corey Nakatani; Joker, no rider; Romarin, Chris McCarron; Tychonic, no rider, and Atticus, Brice Blanc.
Possible: Abre Alas, no rider; Earl Of Barking, no rider; Nonproductiveasset, no rider, and Score Quick, no rider
Thursday's developments: Trainer Richard Mandella listed Atticus as "probable". . . Romarin worked seven furlongs in 1:27 2/5 on a fast main track . . . Tychonic five furlongs, 1:01 4/5, main.
BELMONT STAKES SIMULCAST SATURDAY
Fifteen 3-year-olds were entered in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, which run at 2:31 p.m. In addition to the final leg of the Triple Crown, Hollywood Park will simulcast three other races from Belmont Park. The schedule follows:
12:29 p.m. _ Riva Ridge Stakes (Gr. III), $100,000, 3-year-olds, 7 furlongs.
1:06 p.m. _ True North Handicap (Gr. II), $100,000, 3-&-up, six furlongs.
1:42 p.m. _ Early Times Manhattan (Gr. I) $200,000, 3-&-up, 1 1/4 miles (turf).
2:31 p.m. _ Belmont Stakes (Gr. I), $500,000, 3-year-olds, 1 1/2 miles.
First live post at Hollywood Park is at 1:20 p.m.
Friday's Belmont Simulcast, the Suffolk County, was split and will be run in two divisions, with post times of 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. The race is for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
ZUCKER TOP PERCENTAGE TRAINER
Leading Percentage Trainers (minimum 3 wins) Sts W P S % Zucker, Howard 6 4 1 0 66.6 Gregson, Eddie 7 4 0 1 57.1 Needham, Lloyd 6 3 0 1 50.0 Gonzalez, Paco 15 6 3 1 40.0 Shirreffs, John 11 4 3 0 36.3 Mandella, Richard 42 15 6 6 35.7 Hofmans, David 27 9 4 7 33.3 Whittingham, C. 15 5 0 2 33.3 Gleaves, Phil 10 3 3 3 30.0
FINISH LINES: Larry The Legend, unraced since a rousing victory over Afternoon Deelites in the 1995 Santa Anita Derby, returned to the worktab Thursday at Santa Anita. The Illinois-bred colt drilled three furlongs in :37, handily, at Santa Anita for owner/trainer Craig Lewis . . . Kentucky Oaks victress Pike Place Dancer is scheduled to ship from Northern California for the $100,000 Princess Stakes on Sunday, June 16. Corey Nakatani has the riding assignment for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Nakatani has another big mount on the 16th: probable favorite Fastness in the $700,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile . . . Trainer Ron Ellis said Exotic Wood has returned to Hollywood Park following a 4 1/2-length victory in Grade II Genuine Risk Stakes at Belmont Park. Tentativeplans call for the Rahy filly to ship to Monmouth Park for the $200,000 Molly Pitcher Handicap (Gr. II) on July 4. In the Genuine Risk , Exotic Wood ran six furlongs in 1:08 2/5 _ just three-fifths of a second off the track record. Mike Smith was aboard Exotic Wood. "He (Smith) rode a good race, and we probably could have broken the track record . . . but that wasn't in the plans," Ellis said . . .Hall-of-Fame trainer Jack Ven Berg celebrates his 60th birthday Friday . . . Mel Stute broke an 0-for-51 drought at the meet with Don't Fear The Heat ($12.20) in Wednesday's seventh race. Don't Fear The Heat crossed the line second but was moved up when Fairness was disqualified and placed second. "I had to cheat to get (the win), but I'll take it," Stute said.
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