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Time for Travel Isn't a Stretch

October 24, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

One of the last Breeders' Cup horses to arrive at Santa Anita will travel the least.

That would be Medaglia d'Oro, who is traveling by van this morning, along with the seven other horses trained by Bobby Frankel, the 35 miles from Hollywood Park to the Arcadia track. Frankel, who trains his horses at Hollywood throughout the year, said Medaglia d'Oro and the others were scheduled to arrive at 11 a.m.

If the morning-line holds up, Medaglia d'Oro will be favored in the Classic for the second consecutive year. A year ago, at Arlington Park, he ran second, 6 1/2 lengths behind Volponi. Medaglia d'Oro, bothered by foot problems, has run only four times since, his only loss a second-place finish behind Candy Ride in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Frankel isn't concerned about the 61 days between races.

With his performance Sunday, 1:12 1/5 for six furlongs, "I would have to think he's dead fit," Frankel said.

"He did the first three-eighths in :37 3/5 and the last three in :34 3/5. Any horse that does that has to be dead fit."

Medaglia d'Oro, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, winner of a record 13 Breeders' Cup races and a four-time winner of the Classic, will have a horse-of-the-year chance against the retired Mineshaft if he wins Saturday.

"My horse didn't run his race in the Pacific Classic," Frankel said. "He had a pus pocket in a hoof. But I'm not taking anything away from the winner. He ran a great race."

Candy Ride, owned by Sid and Jenny Craig, has been put on the shelf for the rest of the year. The Craigs would have had to pay an $800,000 supplement to run him in the Classic.


That anticipated cooling trend apparently isn't going to materialize at Santa Anita on Saturday. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 60s in the morning, soaring to the mid-90s by afternoon.

The first Breeders' Cup race, the Distaff, will be run at 10:20 a.m. The Classic, the last of the Breeders' Cup races, has a 2:35 p.m. post.

"We know Funny Cide doesn't like the heat and humidity," said Jack Knowlton, who manages the Kentucky Derby winner's partnership. "I told [trainer Barclay Tagg, who arrives from New York today] that it was about 100 degrees here, and he wasn't happy."

The hottest day for a Breeders' Cup was in 1992, when it was 87 degrees at Gulfstream Park.


Leigh Gray is the first winner of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America's White Horse Award, which was presented at Santa Anita on Thursday. The award will be given annually to a backstretch or racing-farm worker.

Gray, whose career as an exercise rider in California ended when she underwent surgery for breast cancer, has helped, through her seven-acre farm, care for and place 112 horses whose racing careers were shortened by injuries.

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