Two former winners of the $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar are back at the Grade I race today.
Sarafan, who benefited from Beat Hollow's bad fortune to win the 1 1/8-mile turf contest in 2002, will break from post two in the field of 10. Special Ring, who rolled to a five-length win a year ago, has post nine in his first start of 2004 for trainer Julio Canani.
Owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Neil Drysdale, Sarafan has lost five in a row since winning an allowance race against four opponents Nov. 13 at Hollywood Park. The 7-year-old Lear Fan gelding is unbeaten in three races over the local grass.
Idle since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Mile, Special Ring will be coupled in the wagering with Bayamo because both are owned by Prestonwood Farm LLC.
Since returning May 5, Bayamo, a 5-year-old Valamour gelding who is also trained by Canani, has won two of three and was second in his lone defeat in the Charlie Whittingham Handicap.
Race of the day: Gander, an 8-year-old Cormorant gelding who has won 15 times and earned more than $1.8 million, is among seven New York breds set to go 1 1/16 miles in today's $100,000 Evan Shipman Handicap at Belmont Park. The race is the closing day feature at Belmont before Saratoga kicks off its 36-day meet Wednesday.
One for the road: Tense Wager looked good winning first time out and could come right back in the $50,000 Solano County Juvenile Filly.
Exotically speaking: A trifecta in the fourth keying Greenbaypacker on top with Royal Footage and Spend Spend Spend in the two hole and all in the third spot.
Winners: Previous day/meet total: 1/9. Money: Previous day/meet total: $3.40/$53. Total money bet: $70.