The first quarter mile of the $216,800 Goodwood Handicap Saturday at Santa Anita produced good and bad news for Charlie Whittingham.
Following instructions, Pat Valenzuela was riding Triteamtri like he was in a 440-yard race at Los Alamitos. Only trouble was this was 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita.
Triteamtri's mad dash (an opening 22 2/5 quarter en route to a 45 2/5 half-mile) effectively beat both him and Ruhlmann, the stronger half of Whittingham's two entries and the 6-5 favorite.
The torrid pace was perfectly agreeable with Whittingham's other starter. At least 12 lengths off the lead early, Lively One came flying late to win going away in 1:48.
In winning for the second time in seven 1990 starts, Lively One, the 7-2 second choice, defeated Miserden, the longest shot in the field at 22-1, by 2 1/2 lengths with Festin, who was last for the first six furlongs, another head back in third.
Last in his previous start--the four-horse Del Mar Budweiser Breeders' Cup--Lively One in all likelihood earned himself a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic 13 days hence in New York.
"He'll probably go back," Whittingham said after Lively One's $126,800 payday boosted his earnings to more than $1.33 million.
"We'll see how he comes out of this. There's time to decide. He'd been away for a long time when he ran at Del Mar. He likes this track and he ran his race."
The beaten favorite for the second straight time, Ruhlmann put away Triteamtri and opened a 1 1/2-length lead after six furlongs, but he had nothing to give late. He wound up fifth, beaten by nearly eight lengths.
"I knew I was in trouble as soon as the gate opened and the other jockey was chirping and hollering at his horse in a mile and an eighth race," said Gary Stevens, Ruhlmann's regular companion.
"I understand Pat's position. I can't really say anything because I don't even know the man (Triteamtri's trainer is Lou Goldfine and his assistant is his son Mitchell). Somebody tells you to do something you have to do it. That's what they pay us for."
Triteamtri, who won from slightly off the pace in August, finished last, about 15 lengths behind Lively One.
"I had one set of instructions: go to the lead no matter what and I don't care what you have to do," Valenzuela said.
Miserden, who was closest to Triteamtri and Ruhlmann while they did each other in, saved the place over Festin, who is probably most effective around one turn. The 33-1 upsetter in Del Mar's Cabrillo Handicap, Miserden was last in the Woodward Sept. 15 at Belmont Park. "He didn't like the track back there," trainer Bobby Frankel said.
Alex Solis, who was aboard for Lively One's last victory--May 6 at Golden Gate--knew the 5-year-old Halo horse was going to be tough down the backside.
"At the half-mile pole, he was rolling all by himself without my asking," he said. "I dropped in early to save some ground, came out on the backside and he was flying down the stretch."
Best Pal, California's top 2-year-old, will be supplemented for $120,000 to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Winner of the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk Stakes in his last two starts, the Habitony gelding will be one of the favorites in the Juvenile and a victory would clinch an Eclipse Award.
Owned by John Mabee's Golden Eagle Farm and trained by Ian Jory, Best Pal, who has won five of his six starts, will leave Wednesday for New York.
Horse Racing Notes
Pat Valenzuela was suspended for five days by the stewards for an incident in Friday's fifth race. Star Day, Valenzuela's mount who finished fourth as the favorite, drifted in and bothered Meadow's Interco, resulting in Star Day being disqualified and placed fifth. The suspension will begin Wednesday.
For the third consecutive day, nobody was able to sweep the Pick Six, so there is a carryover of $324,364.93. . . . Making his first start for trainer Bill Shoemaker, Shirkee equaled Baffle's long-standing course record when he won Saturday's seventh race. In upsetting Oraibi and Sam Who, the 5-year-old Tell gelding ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:11 4/5, tying the mark Baffle set Feb. 7, 1970.
Earn Your Stripes, who was second to Sensational Star in Del Mar's Pat O'Brien Handicap before going North to win the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup, will not be going East for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The horse had a little filling in his left ankle after working earlier in the week, trainer Hap Proctor said. . . . Trainer Richard Mulhall, who has been suffering from pneumonia, was released from Arcadia Methodist Hospital Friday. . . . Corey Nakatani ended a 37-race slump at Oak Tree when Keep On Top won the 10th race.