By Chris Esslinger

Thursday, December 5, 1996

Home of the 1997 Breeders' Cup


Trainer Cliff Sise, who saddles Paying Dues in Saturday’s $100,000-added Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (Gr. III), looks for a major effort from the 4-year-old following his second-place finish in the Oct. 26 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Canada’s Woodbine.

“He’s looking fantastic,” Sise said from his Santa Anita office Thursday morning. “He’s coming up to this race better than I’ve ever seen him.”

The son of Cure the Blues -- a winner of five of 12 starts for earnings of $447,980 -- is right at home at the Underwood distance of six furlongs and at Hollywood Park. He finished in a dead heat with Abaginone for the win in the Los Angeles Handicap (Gr. III) here in April, covering six furlongs in 1:08 1/5 -- just two-fifths off the stakes record.

Pat Day, who rode the Kentucky-bred in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, has the mount Saturday.

“Pat’s ride in the Sprint was excellent, but starting from the 12-hole was a disadvantage,” Sise said of the gelding’s second-place finish to Lit de Justice.

Sise and Day aren’t approaching the Vernon Underwood with any particular strategy. “There’s not really a whole lot to do,” Sise said. “I’m confident in Pat’s ability and in the horse’s. We’re packing 124 pounds, but that won’t matter. We packed 126 in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Paying Dues drilled five furlongs in :59 3/5 at Santa Anita on Sunday. “We actually had him working the five in :59 1/5,” Sise said.

The field for the Vernon O. Underwood, to be run at six furlongs, follows in post position order: Criollito, Chris McCarron, 120; Moving Tribute, Eddie Delahoussaye, 114; Minjinsky, Martin Pedroza, 114; Hit The Roof, Alex Solis, 116; Men’s Exclusive, Julio Garcia, 114; Kern Ridge, Rene Douglas, 114, and Paying Dues, Day, 124.


Cal Cup Distaff winner Cat’s Cradle, who was to compete in the $61,150 Pine Tree Lane, is now getting ready to compete in Sunday’s $100,000-added Bayakoa Handicap.

“The Bayakoa is more money and it’s a graded stakes race,” trainer David Hofmans said.

The 4-year-old filly beat a talented field of Cal-breds in the Distaff, including Klassy Kim and probable Bayakoa competitor, Above The Table. She has nine wins from 20 starts for earnings of $688,768. She’s won two of eight 1996 races after being sidelines throughout 1995.

“She worked Monday and looked great,” Hofmans said. “She went six furlongs in 1:13 3/5.”

Alex Solis will ride the daughter of Flying Paster. Solis guided her to the win in the Cal Cup, as well as a third-place finish prior to that in the Autumn Days.

In other Bayakoa developments:
Listening drilled a half-mile in :48 at Santa Anita on Thursday. Sleep Easy worked a half-mile in :49 on Thursday.

The probable field for Sunday’s 16th running of the Bayakoa Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles: Listening, McCarron, 120; Cat’s Cradle, Solis, 120; Sleep Easy, Day, 116; Traces of Gold, Kent Desormeaux, 116; Smolensk, Delahoussaye, 115; Belle’s Flag, Corey Nakatani, 115; Goulash, no rider, 114; Predicted Glory, no rider, 112, and Special Eyes, Matt Garcia, 108.


Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. rode three winners on Wednesday’s card, marking the 207th time in his career he has accomplished the feat at Hollywood Park. Only Bill Shoemaker, who rode three winners 199 times here, is anywhere close to Pincay’s record.

The five-time Eclipse Award-winner rode Frosty Lady Who to victory in the second race, Refined Lady in the fourth and Let’s Drink Brunch in the fifth.

The three wins give Pincay a total of 116 for the year. He has ridden seven at the fall meeting.

Pincay now has 8,485 wins from 42,078 career mounts. His mounts have earned $193,939,327. Only Shoemaker won more races in his career than Pincay.


Jockey Gary Stevens has seven mounts -- including Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Da Hoss -- for Saturday night’s spectacular card at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin Racecourse, which will be simulcast to Hollywood Park beginning at 9 p.m. (PST).

Da Hoss, conditioned by Michael Dickinson, heads a field of 14 for the Group 2 Hong Kong International Cup, which goes as Sha Tin’s seventh race at 12:30 a.m. (PST). Also in the 1 1/8-mile turf contest is the Ian Jory-trained Mateo, who finished a half-length back of Megan’s Interco in the California Cup Classic on Nov. 2. Cash Asmussen has the mount.

Asmussen will also pilot San Francisco Handicap runner-up Time Star for trainer Neil Drysdale in the Group 2 Hong Kong International Vase. The Vase, which goes as the fourth race at 10:40 p.m. (PST), is a 1 1/2-mile turf marathon.

Wavy Run, third behind Comininalittlehot and Wild Zone in the Oct. 27 Morvich Handicap at Oak Tree, goes to post for trainer Darrell Vienna and jockey Brice Blanc in the Group 2 Hong Kong International Bowl, a seven-furlong turf dash. The International Bowl will be run as the fifth race at 11:20 p.m. (PST).

Agent Ron Anderson, who books mounts for Stevens, reports the Mike Mitchell-trained Comininalittlehot, who was expected to start in the International Bowl, did not enter because the 5-year-old gelding became sick after the long plane flight to the Orient.

“The flight was a little much for him,” Anderson said. “Da Hoss didn’t ship that well either. His blood count was low, but I hear it’s improving enough to where it looks like he might go.”


Graded stakes winners Exotic Wood and Twice The Vice, currently at River Edge farm in Kentucky, will return to California next week and resume training early in the New Year.

“They’re doing great,” trainer Ron Ellis said. “We want to have them run about once a month, maybe five times next year before the Breeders’ Cup, which is the series we’re aiming for. Look for them to start running in April.”

Twice The Vice has 10 wins in 18 starts, including victories in the 1996 Santa Margarita Handicap (Gr. I), Apple Blossom (Gr. I) and Milady Breeders’ Cup Handicap (Gr. I).The 5-year-old mare has banked $1,042,204 for Pam and Martin Wygod.

Exotic Wood most recent win came in the Go For Wand in July at Saratoga. The brown filly, a daughter of Rahy, has eight wins in nine starts and earnings of $407,350. She won the Genuine Risk Handicap (Gr. II) and finished second in the Santa Monica Handicap (Gr. I) this year.

“We’re pointing Exotic Wood at next year’s A Gleam Handicap,” Ellis said. The $100,000-added A Gleam is a seven-furlong, Grade II event for fillies and mares to be run early in the 1997 Hollywood Park spring/summer meet.

FINISH LINES: Marlin came out of the Hollywood Derby in “excellent order,” according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas and will be wheeled back in the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (Gr. I) on Dec. 15 . . .Trainer Bob Baffert sent his pair of Hollywood Futurity hopefuls, In Excessive Bull and Photarc, through seven-furlong workouts Thursday at Santa Anita. In Excessive Bull was clocked in 1:26 1/5, while Photarc, who remains a possible entry, worked in 1:26 3/5. Baffert also reported Del Mar Futurity winner Silver Charm will not run in the 1 1/16-mile event. “He’s on the tab getting ready for a demanding 3-year-old campaign,” Baffert said. Baffert also mentioned that Queen of Money, unraced since her sixth-place finish in the Aug. 25 Del Mar Debutante (Gr. II), will run in the Dec. 14 Hollywood Starlet. “She’s a nice one and she’s been off for a while, but she’s the best 2-year-old filly I’ve got,” Baffert said . . . Party Season, who most recently finished third in the Nov. 4 Carleton F. Burke at Oak Tree, worked one mile in 1:30 2/5. Party Season runs in the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (Gr. I) on Sunday, Dec. 15.

The Running Horse (