Sunday, June 16, 1996

By Mark Midland

Trainer Eddie Gregson, who saddled 1982 Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol, has been absolutely on fire as of late, sending out two winners on Saturday to improve his record to 8-for-12 at the Hollywood Park meeting.

"I've been blessed," said the 57-year-old trainer, who was quick to point out that he sent out five straight runners to finish dead last at Santa Anita. "I have some maidens and young ones with ability and horses with conditions." Gregson, who finished the Santa Anita Winter/Spring meeting with a 2-for-17 record, explained that it can be hit or miss in this business. "You have a tendency to be streaky when you train for breeders," said Gregson, who won six races last summer at the Track of Lakes and Flowers with the same size stable.

"Everything I have is homebred or bought as a yearling. You're either blessed with some that can run or you have a stable full of horses that need six starts to break their maiden. Still, the most important thing with young horses is to place them properly, and that means having patient owners."

Gregson's stable star, Hollywood Turf Cup winner Royal Chariot, will make his 1996 debut later in the meet. The six-year-old Strawberry Road gelding was sidelined with an ankle injury this winter and could be back in time for the $125,000 American Handicap July 4. Overall, Gregson has saddled eight winners with a second and a third from his 12 starters at the meeting, including: Something Supreme (4/28, $4.60), Bullfinch (5/4, $3.40), Bold Capital (5/12, $17.20; and 6/6, $7.60), Grumpy Gramps (6/6, $7.60), Solana Beach (6/14, $6.40), Madame Martini (6/15, $6.00), and Lloydminister (6/15, $18.40). The return on investment (ROI) for his starters is $3.38 for each $2 invested.

Alex Campbell's Mr Purple never gets any respect. Dismissed as an 18-1 outsider, he captured the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap under Eddie Delahoussaye, who picked up the mount at the last minute. Delahoussaye rode him back to a fifth place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap, but then jumped ship to ride eventual winner Tinners Way in the Californian. Corey Nakatani piloted Mr Purple in the Californian, but has now opted for Soul Of The Matter in the Gold Cup, leaving trainer Ron McAnally once again searching for a rider for Mr Purple. Even McAnally admitted that last year he never would have thought he'd see Mr Purple competing against the likes of Soul Of The Matter and Tinners Way. "We were trying to get him to rate and he wasn't learning," he said. "We kept teaching him and he finally caught on." Mr Purple remains eligible for the $2-million MGM Grand Classic Crown bonus, and in the event that he doesn't win, there is still $500,000 in participation bonuses to be awarded. "I'm sure Mr. Campbell knows all about it," said McAnally of his owner.

Probables for the 57th running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, 1 1/4 miles on the main track, second leg in the MGM Grand Classic Crown: Helmsman, Chris McCarron; Mr Purple,* no rider; Siphon, David Flores; Soul Of The Matter, Corey Nakatani; Tinners Way, Eddie Delahoussaye, and Geri, Jerry Bailey.

Possible: Luthier Fever, Brice Blanc; Dare And Go, no rider; Key Of Luck,** no rider, and Tejano Run, no rider.

* Eligible for the $2-million MGM Grand Classic Crown bonus.
** Must be supplemented at $25,000 before June 19.

Trainer Randy Bradshaw has found a competitive spot for Urbane as she returns to Grade I competition in the $175,000 Grade I Milady Handicap Sunday June 23. "It will be a tough race, but we get a good break in the weights, and there's not alot of pace," said Bradshaw.

The four-year-old Citidancer filly ran a game third in the May 25 Hawthorne Handicap (Gr. II), signalling a return to form that saw her compile a win, three seconds and a third in five straight Grade I races. Now she has to face her Hawthorne opponents Borodislew and Jewel Princess, with Twice The Vice joining the fray. "She's doing better than ever," he said. "She had a rough trip in the Kentucky Oaks and needed some time to get her confidence back." Bradshaw has added blinkers for her last three starts, and Urbane has responded well with wins in the Los Altos Handicap at Bay Meadows, the Geisha Handicap at Pimlico and her third in the Hawthorne, but Bradshaw doesn't feel they are responsible for her turnaround. "Actually, I've been toying with the idea of taking them off," he said.

Confirmed for the 45th running of the Milady Handicap, 1 1/16 miles on the main track (weights, Sunday, June 16): Borodislew, Eddie Delahoussaye; Jewel Princess, Corey Nakatani; Radu Cool, no rider; Twice The Vice, Chris McCarron, and Urbane, Alex Solis.

Possible: Top Rung, no rider.

FINISH LINES: Tiger Talk drilled five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 in preparation for Saturday's $60,000-added Playa Del Rey, where he will meet the likes of Slews Royal Son, Pugnacious and Regal Rhythm. Trainer Ron McAnally confirmed that Norfolk Stakes winner Future Quest will make his three-year-old debut in the race. Kent Desormeaux will ride . . .Neil Drysdale worked a pair of grass runners six furlongs over the turf in preparation for Saturday's $65,000 Jim Murray Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Patio De Naranjos went in 1:15 4/5 and Special Price was clocked in 1:16 2/5 . . . Gold And Steel worked five furlongs in 1:03 1/5 on the turf Sunday. Trainer Ben Cecil has decided to bypass the June 22 Caesars International at Atlantic City with the Early Times Dixie and San Francisco Mile winner in favor of the July 4 $125,000 American Handicap . . .Trainer Wally Dollase was one victory shy of 200 career wins on Sunday . . . Jockey Rene Douglas earned his first stakes win of the meeting aboard Magic Feeling in the Estrapade Stakes Saturday . . . Trainer Bob Baffert is pointing Semoran torwards the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap June 30, and confirmed that Criollito will start in next Saturday's Aristides at Churchill Downs. Del Mar Debutante and Sorrento stakes winner Batroyale is likely to make her comeback in Thursday's $60,000-added The Arbor Vitae. The three-year-old filly has been sidelined since running third in the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 11. Raw Gold is also probable for the race . . . Abaginone worked four furlongs in 48 4/5 breezing in preparation for the June 30 $200,000 Triple Bend Handicap. Probables for the seven furlong sprint include Afternoon Deelites, Comininalittlehot, Paying Dues, Powis Castle and Score Quick . . . Argentian Derby winner Gentlemen makes his local debut for Richard Mandella as he squares off against Dramatic Gold, Cleante and College Town in Wednesday's featured eighth race, a $55,000 allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the main track .

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