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HORSE RACING

Baze scores Swaps upset

July 13, 2008|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Two Step Salsa got the better of 4-5 favorite Colonel John in the $355,495 Swaps on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Unfortunately for the 7-5 second choice, who was not helped by a stumbling start, all it got him in the Grade II was second money.

Tres Borrachos, the longest shot in a field reduced to four after two scratches, got a rail-skimming ride from jockey Tyler Baze to earn his first graded stakes victory.

Second behind Two Step Salsa in the Affirmed Handicap last month, Tres Borrachos, who paid $24, continued what has been a dream couple of weeks for Baze. The rider captured his first Hollywood Gold Cup with Mast Track on June 28 and married longtime girlfriend Kristina Waugh last Monday.

"This is just a special horse," Baze said. "He gave me my first Preakness ride [where Tres Borrachos finished a troubled ninth]. We didn't know if we could beat [Two Step Salsa], but he proved he was best today and he proved everybody wrong who never gave him a chance."

Colonel John had no excuses while finishing a head behind Two Step Salsa in his first start since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

"I think he came up a little short," trainer Eoin Harty said of the Santa Anita Derby winner. "I thought he was a little fitter than he probably was."

Better put those plans for a trip to France on hold.

Curlin, the reigning horse of the year, was defeated in his turf debut, finishing second behind Red Rocks in the $500,000 Man O'War Stakes at Belmont Park.

The loss ended a five-race win streak for the 4-year-old, whose primary target at the end of the year is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 5 at Longchamp in Paris.

The victory by Red Rocks, who won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, was the second significant stakes score of the day for owner Paul Reddam.

Earlier, Mistical Plan, an 8-1 longshot trained by Doug O'Neill and ridden by Corey Nakatani, won the $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder.

Other stakes winners at Calder included favorites Indyanne ($250,000 Azalea), Golden Spikes ($250,000 Carry Back) and Benny The Bull ($400,000 Smile Sprint).

Meanwhile, Proud Spell won the $500,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park and Tizdejavu remained unbeaten in three starts on turf with a win in the $250,000 American Derby at Arlington Park.

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bob.mieszerski@latimes.com

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