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HORSE RACING

This 'Ride Is Up for Grabs

September 07, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

DEL MAR — While Robby Albarado seems certain to ride Mineshaft in the Breeders' Cup Classic -- the colt has had no other jockey in 10 U.S. races -- the rider of the horse with the best chance to beat him, Candy Ride, is up in the air.

"The Craigs will make the decision," trainer Ron McAnally said here Saturday, shortly after watching on TV as Mineshaft won the $500,000 Woodward Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park.

The McAnally-trained Candy Ride is owned by Sid and Jenny Craig, who would have to pay a supplemental fee of $800,000 to make the Argentine-bred colt eligible to run in the $4-million Breeders' Cup race at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Candy Ride, undefeated in three U.S. starts, won the Pacific Classic here on Aug. 24, when Julie Krone took over for the injured Gary Stevens. Seriously injured in a spill at the finish of the Arlington Million on Aug. 16, Stevens returned to Del Mar this weekend, and he notched his first victory since the accident on Saturday's card.

Injured jockeys frequently resume riding top horses after missing a race, but Krone is currently riding with all her powers, battling Pat Valenzuela for the Del Mar riding title with three racing days -- today, Monday and Wednesday -- left in the meet.

Krone rode three winners Saturday, pulling within one of Valenzuela. One of her wins was aboard Yankee Gentleman -- a colt last ridden by Valenzuela -- in the $77,700 Pirate's Bounty Handicap. Yankee Gentleman, a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, ran six furlongs in 1:07 4/5, missing the track record by one-fifth of a second.

Krone and Stevens are in the Racing Hall of Fame. Krone has never won a Breeders' Cup race, whereas Stevens, with eight wins, ranks fifth. The only time Stevens rode Candy Ride, in the race before the Pacific Classic, they teamed to capture the American Handicap at Hollywood Park. Stevens gave Krone advice on how to ride Candy Ride before the Pacific Classic.

Never going to the whip, Albarado was little more than a passenger as Mineshaft easily disposed of Hold That Tiger and Puzzlement, the second- and third-place finishers, in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward. Mineshaft, posting a time of 1:46 1/5, paid $2.60 for $2. The son of A.P. Indy has eight victories in 10 starts since he moved from England to trainer Neil Howard last fall.

While McAnally doesn't plan to run Candy Ride between now and the Breeders' Cup, Mineshaft will make one more start, in the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 27.

Another colt in McAnally's barn, Fairly Ransom, gave the trainer his third victory in the Del Mar Derby, and the first since successive wins with Hawkster and Tight Spot in 1989-90.

Fairly Ransom, ridden by Alex Solis in the 1 1/8-mile grass race, paid $11, winning by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:46.45, which broke the stakes record of 1:46.66, set by Walkslikeaduck in 2000.

Devious Boy, ridden by Krone, nosed out Sweet Return, another McAnally trainee, for second place and favored Senor Swinger ran fourth.

*

Zippy Chippy's 97-race losing streak almost ended Saturday.

The winless 12-year-old gelding led by half a length at the top of the stretch of the $3,100, five-furlong maiden race at the fair meet in Northampton, Mass.

Short Notice overtook Zippy Chippy to win by 1 1/2 lengths, but the winner had to weather a foul claim by the rider of Unblessed, the third-place horse. Had the stewards disqualified Short Notice, Zippy Chippy would have been moved to first.

Zippy Chippy has eight seconds and 12 thirds. Sent off at 7-1 -- the fifth choice in an eight-horse field -- he hit the board for the first time since 2000.

*

In other stakes at Belmont, Buy The Sport, an English invader, paid $98 after beating favored Lady Tak by half a length in the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap, and Lunar Sovereign, at 10-1, beat Slew Valley and favored Denon in the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes.... At Leopardstown near Dublin, Ireland, High Chaparral, last year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner, survived a stewards' inquiry after beating Falbrav by a neck in the Champion Stakes.... Ryan Fogelsonger, last year's Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey, made his Del Mar debut and rode Dream Weekend to victory in the first race.

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