In the turf club at Santa Anita Saturday, Pete Newell, the former basketball coach, was talking with Wayne Lukas, another former coach, about the ebbs and flows of racing.
"I don't know how you trainers stand it," Newell said. "In basketball, you have about 20 or 30 games a season. But in your game, you've got it every day."
Newell picked as good a day as there is to check the peaks and valleys of the horse game. In one afternoon, this is what happened to the nationwide Lukas stable:
--At Belmont Park, Sun Master couldn't beat the top sprinter, Groovy, in the Vosburgh Stakes, but his third-place finish enabled the Lukas outfit to break the $12.3-million purse record that it set last year.
--A half-hour later at Belmont, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Bordeaux Bob, a colt with no previous physical problems, broke down and will be retired.
--Still later, at Santa Anita, Capote, a star in last year's Breeders' Cup, then the bust of the Kentucky Derby, couldn't beat a horse--including a couple of claimers--in an allowance race and will be retired for the year and perhaps permanently.
--Three hours after that disappointment, Lukas saddled Dream Team, one of about eight candidates he has for this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes, and she rallied in the last sixteenth of a mile for a 1-length win in the $67,150 Anoakia Stakes.
--In the same race, however, Blue Jean Baby, with considerably more credentials than Dream Team, ran close to the lead until the top of the stretch, then faded to ninth in the 10-horse field.
In the name of Pete Newell, how does Lukas stand it?
"We thrive on the part of failing and succeeding," Lukas said. "When something bad happens, you just suck it up and get on to the next one.
"That's the attitude that keeps you going. You've always got a chance in this game as long as there's another yearling and another race to run in. And they keep writing the races, don't they?"
The Anoakia furnished Lukas with his 77th stakes win of the year, the stable having broken its own record of 70 last month.
The Anoakia is only a Grade III, but it should set up Dream Team, an upstart of summer, for the $200,000 Oak Leaf, a stake Lukas has won four out of the last five years, on Oct. 24. Lukas will run Lost Kitty, winner of the Del Mar Futurity against colts, in the Oak Leaf and there is a chance that Blue Jean Baby will also return then.
Before 32,899 fans, Dream Team, a $500,000 Cox's Ridge-Likely Double yearling owned by Gene Klein, ran seven furlongs in a so-so 1:23 3/5 and, combined with Blue Jean Baby as the favorite in the betting, paid $4.40, $3.40 and $2.40. Tomorrow's Child, who got second by a nose, paid $7.60 and $3.80 and Sheesham, who finished third, returned $3. Dream Team's win was worth $40,150.
Sandy Hawley, rode the winner, his first stakes victory at Santa Anita since 1985.
Hawley had Dream Team inside, where there was less likely to be dirt hitting her in the face, going down the backside. Bolchina, Blue Jean Baby and Tommorow's Child were battling for the lead then--and running a blistering :44 4/5 half mile--while Dream Team was in sixth place.
On the turn for home, there were four horses strung across the track, with Hawley and Dream Team circling wide.
"I ended up getting lucky and getting outside," Hawley said. "Wayne told me there was a lot of speed and don't rush her off her feet--just steadily pick them off, which she did. I switched the stick to the right hand and she really kicked in."
Horse Racing Notes
Sandy Hawley will be riding in stakes at Woodbine, in his native Canada, today and Monday. . . . Santa Anita took betting--$554,000--on a telecast of the $100,000 Hillsborough Handicap from Bay Meadows Saturday. The winner, trained by Darrell Vienna and ridden by Gary Stevens, was Short Sleeves, who has captured three stakes, including the Ramona Handicap at Del Mar, in the last 28 days. . . . At Louisiana Downs Saturday, Bonshamile, trained by Bobby Frankel and ridden by Corey Black, won the $200,000 Golden Harvest Handicap. Ivor's Image, the favorite, finished fifth under Bill Shoemaker. . . . Shoemaker will be back at Santa Anita today, trying to win the Burke Handicap for the second straight year with Louis Le Grand.