By Chris Esslinger

Thursday, December 19, 1996

Home of the 1997 Breeders' Cup


Santa Anita Derby (Gr. I) winner Larry The Legend, recovering from an injury, is close to returning to the races, reported owner/trainer Craig Lewis. The popular Illinois-bred is nominated to Sunday’s $60,000-added Dayjur, but he is not likely to start in the 5 1/2-furlong turf dash.

”It’s not out of the question, but it is unlikely,” Lewis said.

The 4-year-old bay colt has not raced since his fifth-place finish in the Crazy Kid Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 4, where he bruised a foot. Previously, Larry The Legend was sidelined for over a year after encountering knee problems following his win in the 1995 Santa Anita Derby. The son of Local Talent has been working steadily the past month at Santa Anita in preparation for next year’s campaign.

“He’s close to being ready to run,” Lewis said. “We’ve just got to tighten him down a bit and we’re ready to go.”

Larry The Legend has four wins and two seconds from eight starts, with earnings of $565,925. All signs point to a return sometime in the very near future, but Lewis cautions against such speculation.

“We don’t know anything with certainty,” Lewis said. “But we’re considering a few spots at Santa Anita. Maybe we’ll return to bigger and better things later in the year if he stays as good as he is right now, but you never know. We just want to take things a step at a time.”

Probables for Sunday’s $60,000-added Dayjur, to be run at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf: Cyrano Storme, Rene Douglas, 121; Suggest, no rider, 116; Silver Kite, Julio Garcia, 115; Men’s Exclusive, no rider, 115; Stately Warrior, no rider, 114, and Hit The Roof, no rider, 113.

Possible: Larry The Legend, no rider, 117; Strangelove, no rider, 113; Electrify, no rider, 113; Touch the Moon, no rider, 112; Banchory Baron, no rider, 112; Pirate’s Gulch, no rider, 112; Salta’s Pride, no rider, 111, and California Candi, no rider, 108.


The field for Sunday’s $100,000-added Native Diver Handicap is taking shape, headed up by the two favorites in the race, Dramatic Gold and Citation Handicap winner Gentlemen. In other developments:

Trainer Rafael Becerra said Kingdom Found will not run in the Native Diver.

“I don’t feel he’s ready for this distance,” Becerra said. “I’m pointing him at the Ack Ack on Dec. 28 for now. I was going to run him in the Jan. 12 San Pasqual, but that’s going to be a tough race for him with Alphabet Soup, Savinio and Isitingood probably going. Right now, I’m going to wait to stretch him out in a graded-stake.”

Becerra also indicated that Powerful Punch will not run in the Native Diver, either. Instead, the 7-year-old gray horse will race in New York.

Cleante will not run in the Native Diver as originally planned, suffering from a quarter-crack in his right front foot. He was working out with a patch on the crack, but the hoof proved too sensitive to run this weekend.

Probables for Sunday’s $100,000-added Native Diver Handicap, to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track: Arrivederci Baby, Corey Nakatani, 113; Don’t Blame Rio, Matt Garcia, 112; Dramatic Gold, Kent Desormeaux, 122; Gentlemen, Gary Stevens, 121; Peyrano, Rene Douglas, 113, and Torole, no rider, 110.


The field for Saturday’s $60,000-added Safely Kept, for fillies and mares, to be run at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, follows in post position order: Passerine, Julio Garcia, 115; Distinguish Forum, Rene Douglas, 114; Raw Gold, Alex Solis, 116; Call Now, Corey Black, 116; Grab The Prize, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117; Klassy Kim, Goncalino Almeida, 118; Salta’s Pride, David Flores, 113; Rhapsodic, Corey Nakatani, 114; Evil’s Pic, Gary Stevens, 116, and Majestic Number, Victor Espinoza, 113.

In other Safely Kept developments:

Klassy Kim drilled four furlongs in :45 1/5 on Thursday.

Salta’s Pride worked four furlongs on turf in :54 2/5 on Thursday.

Majestic Number breezed four furlongs on turf in :51 4/5 on Thursday.


Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. rode one winner on Wednesday, bringing his career total to 8,493. He is second on the all-time list behind Bill Shoemaker’s 8,833 winners. Pincay will celebrate his 50th birthday on Dec. 29.

FINISH LINES: Congratulations to trainer Craig Dollase, the 26-year-old son of Wally Dollase. He saddled three consecutive winners on Wednesday: Tower Full in the fifth, Splendid Wolf in the sixth and Missoula Lula in the seventh . . . Romarin, second in the Nov. 29 Forty-Niner at Golden Gate, breezed one mile on turf Thursday in 1:42 4/5 . . . De Puntillas, a winner in her first U.S. start on Oct. 27 at Santa Anita, worked seven furlongs in 1:27 1/5 on Monday at Santa Anita . . . Fanjica, fourth in the Nov. 28 Waya, worked five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 on Tuesday . . . Cal Cup Classic champion Megan’s Interco drilled a half-mile in :47 3/5 on Wednesday at Santa Anita . . . Vernon O. Underwood winner Paying Dues drilled a half-mile in :47 2/5 Wednesday at Santa Anita . . . Track Gal, eighth in the Nov. 29 Hollywood Turf Express, breezed a half-mile in :45 3/5 Wednesday at Santa Anita . . . Just Java worked five furlongs in :59 2/5 Wednesday at Santa Anita.

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