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DEL MAR : Cobra King's Balboa Romp a Big Winner


DEL MAR — It's too bad Hennessy, who will run for the second time at Saratoga in the Hopeful Stakes on Sunday, isn't returning to California for the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 13.

Given the way Cobra King won the $105,350 Balboa Stakes Wednesday, it would have been an interesting matchup.

Owned by Betty Biszantz, the wife of Cobra Golf chairman Gary Biszantz, Cobra King was the 6-5 favorite Wednesday. He sat just off the pace from his comfortable outside post, took the lead on the turn and drew away to win by 7 1/2 lengths over Northern Afleet in 1:15 4/5 for the 6 1/2 furlongs.

This was the second victory in three starts for the 2-year-old Farma Way colt, bred in Kentucky by Biszantz. He is a head away from being unbeaten, having lost the Ladbroke Futurity at Golden Gate on June 25 by that margin in his debut.

Ridden by Russell Baze and trained by Mike Puype, Cobra King was named for the golf clubs and is certainly the best horse the Biszantzes have had.

"I thought he was our best 2-year-old, and I gave him to my wife because she bought the mare and she'd always talked about not having a horse of her own. Now she's got one.

"We tried to get King Cobra [as the name], but the name had been used, so we reversed it and it worked out. We've got a great colt, my wife owns it, we've got the right name, and he can really run. It doesn't get any better than that."

Betty Biszantz bought Cobra King's mother, Straight Story--who competed on this circuit in the mid-1980s and earned more than $200,000--for $9,000 several years ago.

The mare was barren at the time but later produced a foal by Debonair Roger named Smoke In Motion, who earned more than $111,000. Another foal by Wolf Power died, then came Cobra King.

"I liked Farma Way [as a sire] because he had speed and he could carry it 1 1/4 miles," Biszantz said. "It's a lifetime dream to get a horse like this."

Puype, a Northern California-based trainer who picked up his second stakes victory of the meeting (Varadavour won the Escondido at 13-1 earlier in the month), was impressed.

"We've got a little bit of a runner, I think," he said. "Obviously, he's a horse with an incredible future. He had the [outside] post, but I don't think the post would have mattered as impressive as the colt was."

Northern Afleet, the 19-10 second choice who had to leave from the rail in the field of eight, rallied to be second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Desert Native.

Reef Reef, Come On Get Happy, Nightcapper, Halo Sunshine and Jimmy Hoofa, who broke down just past the quarter-pole, completed the order of finish.

Bidding for his third consecutive victory, Jimmy Hoofa had to be destroyed after breaking the bones in his left front leg.

Eddie Delahoussaye, who replaced an ill Alex Solis on the colt, was uninjured.

Horse Racing Notes

Jockey Chris Antley, who begins his second five-day suspension of the meeting today, will have a new agent when he returns Monday. Harry Haeck, who had worked briefly for Pat Valenzuela before Valenzuela was suspended for the balance of the Del Mar meeting, replaces Ron Ebanks. Ebanks, who took over for Bill Barisoff two months ago, is going back to work for former employer Shane Sellers. . . . David Flores and Kent Desormeaux both won twice Wednesday. . . . Onceinabluemamoon, who won for the ninth time in 23 lifetime starts in Wednesday's third race, was claimed for $100,000.

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