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Horse Racing | DEL MAR

Larry The Legend Back on Track

July 28, 1996|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEL MAR — Stakes winners True Flare and Savinio finished second in attention at Del Mar on Saturday when Larry The Legend, registering the next best thing to a triumphant return, ran a capable second in a well-stocked $60,000 allowance race.

Between True Flare's one-length victory in the $107,200 San Clemente Handicap on grass and Savinio's 1 1/4-length victory in the $155,350 San Diego Handicap on dirt, Larry The Legend, recovering from double knee surgery, ran for the first time since winning the Santa Anita Derby, more than 15 months ago. The 4-year-old colt, who for a $2,500 auction price became the property of his trainer, Craig Lewis, in a bankruptcy settlement in 1994, raced close to the pace in the 6 1/2-furlong race and saved second by a nose while finishing three lengths behind Isitingood, who was coming back from a 12-month layoff.

"I didn't know how he would do, but I'm very pleased," Lewis said. "This was a tough field, and sprinting isn't his game. There were many times during the last 15 months that I didn't ever think he'd make it back. We let him train himself and didn't have him tight for this race. We wanted to make sure he was ready to run without injuring himself. Now maybe we can have some more fun with him. We've achieved our first objective."

Lewis said the next probable start for Larry The Legend is the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, outside Seattle, on Aug. 18.

Before he was knocked out of last year's Kentucky Derby with a cracked knee, Larry The Legend had won four races and finished second once in five starts, earning $548,425. The colt is named after Larry Lewis, the trainer's brother, who became a legend of sorts in Long Beach when he managed teams to titles in the Little League World Series in 1992-93.

Kent Desormeaux, who rode Larry The Legend in his first four races before Gary Stevens took the mount in the Santa Anita Derby, was back aboard Saturday.

Lewis said that he would like to take some weight off Larry The Legend, who's filled out during his recovery period.

"The nice thing about this horse," Lewis said, "is that he's cooler than me and Desormeaux put together."

For the one-mile San Clemente, Frankel shipped in True Flare from his Hollywood Park training base for her United States debut. The 3-year-old daughter of Capote was seventh, ahead of only three horses, at the quarter pole, but Corey Nakatani aggressively moved her out of traffic at the top of the stretch and she outfinished Gastronomical, the 11-10 favorite. True Flare hit the wire in 1:35 2/5, three-fifths of a second slower than the stakes record, and paid $7.80 as the second choice, earning $67,200 for Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms.

Frankel isn't stabling any horses at Del Mar. "I've got 60, and it would be too crowded training them if I brought them all down," he said.

True Flare had three wins and one third in five starts in France, and Frankel said that the filly might have been undefeated but for bad racing luck. She also bled slightly in her last race, at Chantilly on June 2, and Frankel ran her Saturday with Lasix, the anti-bleeding diuretic that's not permitted in Europe.

Savinio, winner of six races and earner of $600,000 on grass, was winless in three dirt starts before Saturday. Chris Antley found room on the rail, inside of Frankel's The Exeter Man and Misnomer, on the far turn and trainer Walter Greenman's 6-year-old gelding came home in 1:40 4/5 for 1 1/16 miles, paying $15.80 and earning $95,350. Misnomer was second, the 8-5 favorite Nonproductiveasset was third and The Exeter Man faded to last in the six-horse field.

Horse Racing Notes

Misnomer's second-place finish ended Chris McCarron's streak of three straight wins in the San Diego Handicap. McCarron will be at Saratoga today to ride Exotic Wood, winner of seven of eight starts, in the $175,000 Go For Wand Stakes. . . . In a Saratoga race that was carried by Del Mar, Capote Belle, another 3-year-old daughter of Capote, ran a 1:21 seven furlongs, tying the stakes record for the Test. . . . Abaginone, a 5-year-old who's run only nine times, winning seven, will try to beat Lit De Justice for the second straight race when they run today in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap. . . . At least one season box-seat holder has been offered $6,000 for seats when Cigar runs in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 10.

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