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Horse Racing

Futurity, Meet Have Charming End


DEL MAR, Calif. — Trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday that Silver Charm has grown since this meeting began in late July.

Besides blossoming physically, the gray son of Silver Buck accomplished much more during the seven weeks by the beach.

After running second in his debut Aug. 10, he came back to break his maiden two weeks later, then Wednesday, he became a graded stakes winner and the leading 2-year-old in California with a head victory over entrymate Gold Tribute in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity.

Ridden by David Flores and overcoming a less-than-perfect start, Silver Charm, who paid $5.20, completed the seven furlongs in 1:22 4/5. In the process, he handed previously unbeaten and 6-5 favorite Swiss Yodeler his first defeat after five wins.

Able to make the lead through a 22 3/5 opening quarter, Swiss Yodeler was then surrounded by Gold Tribute on the inside and Silver Charm on the outside, and those two pulled away from him in the final eighth. At the end, he was beaten by some 3 1/2 lengths.

After barely missing with Cavonnier in the Kentucky Derby a little more than four months ago, Baffert already has designs of returning to Churchill Downs in 1997 with Silver Charm.

"He shouldn't have any trouble carrying 126 [pounds]," said Baffert, referring to the weight carried by males in the Derby. "He's a gutsy horse, and I think he's going to get better as he goes along."

Horse Racing Notes

Alex Solis won his first Del Mar riding title, beating Pat Valenzuela, 44-42. Solis and Valenzuela were tied going into the final day, but Solis earned the crown with victories aboard Venus Genus in the third race and 12-1 shot Fleet Dreamer in the 10th. . . . Mike Mitchell topped the trainers with 17 wins.

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