REMARKS: Masterful Advocate leap-frogged to first place and Demons Begone advanced to fourth in the ratings with convincing wins Saturday.
At Santa Anita, Masterful Advocate registered a five-length win in the one-mile San Rafael Stakes, over a field that included Temperate Sil, the Hollywood Futurity winner who struggled home fifth, beaten by almost 17 lengths. Temperate Sil now must run better in the San Felipe Handicap March 22 and the Santa Anita Derby April 4 if he is to get into the Kentucky Derby May 2.
At Oaklawn Park, Demons Begone ran an electrifying race, winning the Southwest Stakes by eight lengths in 1:34 3/5, which might have been the fastest mile ever recorded at the Hot Springs, Ark., track.
Capote, who was No. 1 a week ago, continues to train at Hollywood Park in preparation for a 1987 debut that is about three weeks away. Last week, Capote worked five furlongs in 1:01 4/5, an improvement over his previous spin at that distance.
Laffit Pincay, who rode Capote to all three of his wins last year, including the victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, has also been aboard for all five of Masterful Advocate's wins.
Talking about Masterful Advocate, Pincay said: "This colt can run. He seems like he should be able to go a mile and a quarter easy. Every time you show him the whip, he wants to go. It seems like he's improving every time."
A horse who reacts differently to the whip--especially when hit from the left side--is Hay Halo, who is out of Hay Patcher, the same dam who produced Broad Brush, winner of Sunday's Santa Anita Handicap.
Hay Halo, considered one of the best 3-year-olds in Maryland, bolted in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel recently and finished fifth. Dick Small, who trains both Broad Brush and Hay Halo, has examined tapes of Hay Halo's races and discovered that he reacts erratically every time a jockey hits him left-handed.
Demons Begone was 3 1/2 lengths behind at the quarter pole at Oaklawn, then found his gear and annihilated the field. Although his time was a fifth of a second off the mile that Whitebrush ran at Oaklawn in 1983, hand-timing of the faster race indicated that the automatic timer may have malfunctioned that day.
It is believed that Whitebrush's time might have actually been about two seconds slower.
"The only thing wrong with Demons Begone is that he isn't in my barn," an Oaklawn trainer said Saturday.
Demons Begone was bred and is raced by Ed Anthony. The colt's sire, Elocutionist, won the Arkansas Derby and Preakness in 1976, finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.
Demons Begone ran just behind New York's best, Gulch and Polish Navy, as a 2-year-old, then finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. That's been his only off-the-board finish in seven starts, and the 1 1/l6-mile Rebel, at Oaklawn March 28, will be next. Oaklawn will pay a $1-million bonus if a horse sweeps the Rebel, the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby.