Wednesday, June 5, 1996

By Vince Bruun

Allen E. Paulson, owner-breeder of Cigar, said trainer Bill Mott is probably "four to five days" away from being in a position to make a decision on the 1995 Horse of the Year running in the Hollywood Gold Cup on Saturday, June 30.

Paulson, joining a Hollywood Park teleconference immediately after speaking to Mott, said Cigar could still make a scheduled start in the $1-million Gold Cup if he resumes training in "five to seven days." Cigar, who posted his 15th straight victory Saturday in the Massachusetts Handicap, came out of the race with a bruised right forefoot.

"Our plans are to try the best we can to get to the Gold Cup," Paulson said from his office at the Del Mar Country Club. "People out here are looking forward to seeing him, and Hollywood Park has done a lot of work on it. We sure wouldn't want to let them down, but the horse comes first."

Alex Campbell's Mr Purple tends to get lost in the shuffle, but trainer Ron McAnally has transformed the 4-year-old Deputy Minister colt into a legitimate handicap horse.

In Sunday's Grade I Californian, which serves as the final local prep for the $1-million Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30, Mr Purple rallied from some 12 lengths off the pace to finish third behind Tinners Way and Helmsman. Mr Purple unleashed a sustained bid and was beaten just a half-length and a head while carrying 122 pounds. That's six more pounds than Tinners Way packed under the allowance stakes conditions. "He ran well," McAnally said of Mr Purple. "And in the next one, I don't think we'll be spotting (Tinners Way) any weight."

Next stop is the Gold Cup. A victory would move Mr Purple within striking distance of the $1-million MGM Grand Classic Crown bonus that awaits any horse who sweeps the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic. "The Gold Cup's our next goal," McAnally said. "Because of the($1-million), we almost have to try to make all three races." Perhaps the most striking thing about Mr Purple is his running style. What once was a front-runner on turf has become a deep closer on dirt. In the Santa Anita Handicap, Mr Purple charged from 11 lengths behind to win going away by two lengths.

"We did it last summer at Del Mar," McAnally said when asked about the change. "I think if you're going to get a distance, and we always felt that would be his game, that's the way you have to go. And he's picked it up. He's a good horse."

Rio Claro Thoroughbreds' Siphon, a late scratch from The Californian with a foot bruise, galloped Wednesday and could still be starter in the 57th running of the Gold Cup, according to assistant trainer Gary Mandella. Mandella said the bruise on the right front foot was slight in nature and shouldn't pose any long-term problems. Trainer Wally Dollase, meanwhile, said Helmsman came out of The Californian in good shape and is on course for the Gold Cup. "If the weights are right, we'll be in there," he said. "And if the weights are wrong, we'll still probably be in there."

Taking nothing away from Tinners Way, whom he called a "tough old horse," Dollase said Helmsman ran exceptionally well. The son of El Gran Senor gave Tinners Way six pounds and, unlike Tinners Way and Mr Purple, who were allowed to settle into stride, Helmsman pressed Del Mar Dennis through splits of :23 1/5, :46, and 1:09 3/5.

"That's exactly why we lost the race," Dollase said. "Chris (McCarron) didn't do anything wrong, it's just the way the race came up. I thought we were fortunate to be second."

Allen E. Paulson and Martin Wygod's Pharma was scheduled to work six furlongs on the turf course between Wednesday's second and third races in a prep for Sunday's $200,000-added Gamely Handicap for fillies and mares. Pharma, co-highweighted with Matiara at 119 pounds for the Gamely, has won four of five starts this year including a triumph over Didina and Matiara in the Grade II Wilshire Handicap on May 18.

Also Wednesday, Didina drilled five furlongs in 1:03 1/5 on a fast main track for trainer Bobby Frankel, and possible starter Radu Cool worked a half-mile in :50 4/5 for trainer John Shirreffs.

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, Gary Stevens, 118; Auriette, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Flagbird, no rider, 118, and Didina, Eddie Delahoussaye, 116. Possible: Radu Cool, no rider, 114, and Real Connection, no rider, 112.

A field of at least nine is expected for Saturday's silver anniversary running of the $125,000-added Gamely Handicap for 3-year-olds. Will Rogers Handicap (Gr. III) winner Let Bob Do It is expected to be the starting highweight at 120 pounds.

Early probables for the 50th running of the Cinema Handicap, to be decided at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course: Let Bob Do It, Kent Desormeaux, 120; Far Easter, Eddie Delahoussaye, 117; Private Gift, no rider, 115; Come On Get Happy, Laffit Pincay Jr., 115; Dr. Sardonica, Chris Antley, 115; Winter Quarters, Alex Solis, 115; Mortlock, Corey Nakatani, 115; Nightcapper, Rene Douglas, 114, and Zanferrier, no rider. 114.

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.

Evergreen Farm's Fastness, who demolished a good field in the Grade III Inglewood Handicap on May 12, heads the early list of probables for the 53rd running of the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sunday, June 16.

The Grade II Shoemaker is one of two $700,000 turf races at the meet and is the centerpiece of a stakes doubleheader that also includes the $100,000 Princess Stakes (Gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies. Connections for several horses indicated they won't make a decision on the Shoemaker until next week. Trainer Ben Cecil, who has nominated Petit Poucet and Gold And Steel, said the Gary Tanaka-owned runners are more likely to run elsewhere. Petit Poucet will probably remain at Hollywood for the $150,000-added American Handicap (Gr. II)on July 4 and Gold And Steel is likely to be shipped to Atlantic City for the $500,000-guaranteed Caesars International Handicap on June 22. Wally Dollase, conditioner of Nonproductiveasset, said the 6-year-old gelding is being considered for a couple of races, including the Shoemaker.

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, and Tychonic, Gary Stevens.

Possible: Abre Alas, no rider; Atticus, no rider; Earl Of Barking, no rider, and Nonproductiveasset, no rider.

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 -- on Saturday, June 8. As of Wednesday, the field for the Belmont Stakes had swelled to a possible 16 starters for the 1 1/2-mile classic.

Hollywood Park will accept wagers on the following five races Saturday from Belmont Park:

12:29 p.m. -- Riva Ridge Stakes (Gr. III), $100,000, 3-year-olds, seven 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.


Friday's Belmont Simulcast 1:30 p.m. -- Suffolk County, $50,000, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (turf).

FINISH LINES: Del Mar Dennis, who weakened after running a mile in 1:34 1/5 in the nine-furlong Californian, came out of the race in good shape and trainer Paco Gonzalez said he is considering the $125,000-added Bel Air Handicap (Gr. II) on Sunday, July 14, for the gelding's next start. The $15,198 fourth-place check movedDel Mar Dennis over the $1-million mark in career earnings ($1,007,173) . . . Dare And Go worked seven furlongs in 1:27 2/5 Wednesday and trainer Richard Mandella is exploring several options for the 1995 Strub Stakes winner . . . Honeymoon Handicap winner Antespend returned to the worktab, drilling four furlongs in :48 1/5 for trainer Ron McAnally. Northern Spur also was on the track for McAnally, breezing a half-mile in :51 . . . Laffit Pincay Jr. stood at 8,431 victories and was 402 wins shy of Bill Shoemaker's all-time record of 8,833 . . . Veterans Octavio Vergara and Omar Berrio each rode three winners last week.

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