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HORSE RACING | DEL MAR

Inda Is Feverish for Pacific Run

August 03, 1996|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEL MAR — To find a reference point for what Cigar did when he traveled to Dubai to win that $4-million race in March, trainer Eduardo Inda recalled the title bout Mike Tyson fought against lightly-regarded Buster Douglas in Tokyo in 1990.

"They both went a long way, and were expected to win," Inda said. "Neither one of them was 100%. The difference was, Cigar won the race. Tyson thought it was going to be easy, and he got beat."

Cigar has kept winning, at Suffolk Downs in June and at Arlington International in July, and now, with Citation's 16-race winning streak equaled, he'll be at Del Mar a week from today to run in the $1-million Pacific Classic. The race leaves Inda in an awkward position--he trains Luthier Fever, the horse with the wildest chance of beating Cigar, and a horse that, in the opinion of some trainers, shouldn't even be running.

Inda understands this. But for the third time, he's trying to jump-start an independent training career, and Luthier Fever, dropped in his lap after being eased to the finish line in the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30, was welcomed at a barn that isn't exactly chock-full of runners that have earned $640,000.

Inda is Luthier Fever's third trainer this year. Gary Jones was in charge for most of the horse's 24-race career, then Ted West took over for a second-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap, a sixth in the Oaklawn Handicap and the Hollywood Gold Cup. The brothers Lanzagorta, Alfonso and Jose, sent Luthier Fever to Inda with the understanding that he prepare the horse for the Pacific Classic.

The Lanzagortas, who build homes in Mexico City, are impulsive people. One time, after saying they wouldn't be going to the track, they phoned one of their trainers on the morning of the race and asked him to make a turf-club reservation for 14. West skipped the Californian, a prep for the Gold Cup, because Luthier Fever was training so poorly, and he was a passive participant when the owners insisted on running in the Gold Cup. The Lanzagortas are chasing a bonus that goes to horses that finish the best in the Santa Anita Handicap, the Gold Cup and the Pacific Classic, and a week from today Helmsman and Luthier Fever, the only horses that will run in all three races, figure to share $500,000. It will take a room of Philadelphia lawyers to determine the trainer splits on the amount Luthier Fever earns.

"The bonus has backfired, but it was a good idea at the start," said Richard Mandella, who is expected to start Gold Cup winner Siphon and Soul Of The Matter, and perhaps Dare And Go, in the Pacific Classic. "Something needed to be done to encourage owners to run in these important races. I'd like to see them keep the bonus for next year, but fine-tune the rules to guard against horses just limping around there. Luthier Fever? I haven't seen him enough down here to know whether he belongs in there or not."

Inda said that Luthier Fever appeared to lose a lot of weight, especially after the race at Oaklawn, but added that he's been eating well at his newest barn.

Inda, a native of Chile, spent more than 20 years as an aide-de-camp to Ron McAnally, including the glory years of John Henry and Bayakoa, his favorite horses. A year ago, having left McAnally to take a head training job with Marshall Naify's 505 Farms, Inda was riding a crest, finishing in a tie for sixth in the Del Mar standings by saddling eight winners from only 20 starters. Inda even made it to last year's Breeders' Cup with Borodislew, Naify's crackerjack mare, but the partnership unraveled not long afterward, for unexplained reasons. Now Inda, 53, is running a public stable of 18 horses, four of them owned by the Lanzagortas and most of the rest belonging to Stanley Bell.

Horse Racing Notes

Fastness, winner of the Shoemaker Handicap at Hollywood Park in his last start, will try to win the Eddie Read Handicap for the second year in a row when he faces five rivals Sunday in the $300,000 race. Fastness is the high weight at 124 pounds, which is six to 12 pounds more than what the others will be carrying. The field, in post-position order, with weights and jockeys: Wavy Run, 114 pounds, Pat Valenzuela; Earl Of Barking, 115, Goncalino Almeida; Gold And Steel, 118, Alex Solis; Big Sky Jim, 112, Brice Blanc; Smooth Runner, 114, Chris McCarron; and Fastness, 124, Corey Nakatani. . . . Serena's Song, second to Jewel Princess in the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 21, will try to beat males today at Saratoga in the $350,000 Whitney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

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