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Krone Wins Futurity, Not the Title

She caps the Del Mar meet by riding Siphonizer to victory but can't catch Valenzuela in the jockey standings.

September 11, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

DEL MAR — Julie Krone won a stakes race on the opening and closing days at Del Mar, and she didn't rest in between, either.

Wednesday's half-length win aboard Siphonizer in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity gave Krone wins in three of the most important races during the 43-day season. Riding at Del Mar for the first time, she won the track's richest race, the $1-million Pacific Classic, with Candy Ride, and she also bagged the Del Mar Debutante -- the companion race to the Futurity -- with the 2-year-old filly Halfbridled.

Krone fell short, however, in the spirited battle with Pat Valenzuela for the meet's riding title. Valenzuela went into the last day with a four-win lead, and the final tally was 52-49 as he became the first jockey since Gary Stevens in 1988 to win all three major-meet championships -- Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar -- in the same year.

Valenzuela, who rode in 296 races, 42 more than Krone, won an earlier stake on Wednesday's card, the $76,675 Live The Dream Handicap, with Designed For Luck, but he finished third in the Futurity with Perfect Moon, the only starter in the five-horse field who had a prior stakes win.

Cooperation, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth in the Futurity, the first time trainer Bob Baffert hadn't won the stake in eight years. Baffert saddled a meet-high 23 winners, tying Farrell Jones' record (1960 to '66) of seven straight seasonal titles.

Trainer Richard Mandella, who won the Futurity for the first time, also finished second in the race with Minister Eric, whose late run left him a half-length behind his stablemate. Siphonizer paid $12.80, running seven furlongs in 1:23, the slowest time since Worldly Manner's identical clocking in 1998.

Mandella said that Siphonizer might run in the Norfolk Stakes on Oct. 5 at Santa Anita before the Breeders' Cup Juvenile there on Oct. 25.

Mandella also trains Halfbridled. "Mr. Mandella and his crew does such a thorough job with the babies," Krone said. "We barely beat the other horse, so you know that [Mandella] had both of them ready to run today."

Earlier, Valenzuela took a double hit from the Del Mar stewards. He was fined $500 for the post-race scuffle he had with another rider, Omar Berrio, on Monday, and received a five-day suspension for his actions in the race.

The stewards, who disqualified Grinding It Out, Valenzuela's mount, from first to last, ruled that the rider dropped in on Berrio's horse, Westward Star, without sufficient clearance near the quarter pole. Berrio was also fined $500 for the scuffle in the jockeys' room.

Valenzuela's suspension was his third of the meet, totaling 13 days. He appealed the other two and is expected to appeal this one, which would prevent him from riding at Santa Anita on Oct. 1-5 with the Breeders' Cup races approaching. Santa Anita has five Breeders' Cup prep races scheduled for Oct. 4-5.

Frequently a jockey under suspension can still ride in graded stakes, but the stewards precluded Valenzuela from doing that by eliminating the graded-stakes exception. They had that option because it was his third suspension of the meet.

Valenzuela has yet to serve eight more days of suspensions due from the Hollywood Park meet in June. Because of the appeal process, Valenzuela is not likely to serve any of the days until after the Breeders' Cup.

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