Carleton F. Burke Handicap : Pincay Delivers a Coast-to-Coast Parlay

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

It was Saturday night, and Tony Matos, the agent who books the mounts for Laffit Pincay, hadn’t come down. It was several hours since he learned that his rider had won the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup with Creme Fraiche at Belmont Park, and Matos was still higher than a Clydesdale’s eye.

“Laffit does this every year,” Matos was saying. “He gets a couple of weeks’ rest (after Del Mar closes) and he comes back stronger than ever. And we’ve got a great shot to win another one Sunday. Charlie (Whittingham) has got three horses in the race, and he’s put us on the best one.”

Pincay, who hadn’t been riding Rivlia, got the mount on the Whittingham-trained 5-year-old because Chris McCarron rode Iades and Bill Shoemaker chose Louis Le Grand, another Whittingham trainee. And Rivlia gave the 40-year-old jockey his second major win in as many days, flashing past Captain Vigors with about 20 yards to go for a 1-length victory in the $170,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap at Santa Anita before 36,837 fans.


Captain Vigors couldn’t hold off Rivlia, but he held off Circus Prince, who made a crowded charge along the fence to miss second by a nose. The Burke field was reduced to 10 grass runners with the scratches of Individualist and Tasso, who was the third choice on the morning line but came down with a high temperature and a cough on Saturday.

Favored Rivlia ran 1 miles in 2:03 1/5, the slowest winning time in the race’s 20-year history. Earning $102,500 for his owner and breeder, Nelson Bunker Hunt, Rivlia paid $5.60, $3.80 and $3.20. The other payoffs were $6.60 and $4.80 for Captain Vigors and $10.60 for Circus Prince.

Winningham--er, Whittingham--saddled the winner of the Burke for the 10th time and second straight year. Louis Le Grand, who won the stake last year, came from last to get fourth and really needs added distance to be more effective.

McCarron, who had won the Louisiana Downs Handicap with Iades two weeks ago, finished seventh Sunday.

Matos says that Pincay has options, but no commitments, for the seven Breeders’ Cup races at Hollywood Park on Nov. 21. One of the horses that expects to be there is Rivlia, with Whittingham planning to run the son of Riverman and Dahlia in the $400,000 Oak Tree Invitational on Nov. 1.

Rivlia, winner of this year’s Hollywood Invitational Handicap in course-record time, was no match for Manila in his last start, the Budweiser-Arlington Million on Sept. 6. He ran sixth, beaten by 11 1/2 lengths.


“He doesn’t like a soft course, and that’s the way it was at Arlington,” Whittingham said. “He likes Santa Anita. He was the best in the race today.”

Pincay had Rivlia tucked inside horses most of the way around. “You got to hide him early,” Whittingham said. “Otherwise, he’ll really want to go.”

Eighth on the first turn, seventh on the second turn, Pincay swung Rivlia to the outside at the head of the stretch and was able to get between horses. Captain Vigors had moved past the pace-setting, tiring Forlitano and tried to persevere, but Rivlia’s high gear was decisive. Forlitano, Whittingham’s other starter, wound up fifth.

“We weren’t good enough to beat Rivlia,” said Dick Mandella, who trains Captain Vigors. “I’ve got a hard-trying horse. When you run against him, you always know he’s in there.”

Pincay suspected he was going to win if he could ditch the traffic in the stretch.

“I knew I had a lot of horse,” he said. “I had a hard time getting him to change lead feet. I had to jerk him twice on the backstretch to get him to change. I didn’t even try in the stretch and he went all the way on his left lead.”

That’s the wrong way for a horse to finish, but in the Burke it didn’t make any difference. With Whittingham owning the race and Pincay owning the weekend, Rivlia was in good hands.


Horse Racing Notes

Trainer Julio Canani had a big day. He won two claiming races at Santa Anita and his 3-year-old filly, Davie’s Lamb, won the $50,000 San Jose Handicap at Bay Meadows. Canani claimed Davie’s Lamb for $32,000 in March at Santa Anita and she’s now won two stakes. . . . Temperate Sil, a multiple stakes winner on dirt, will make his first grass start next Sunday, in the Volante Handicap at Santa Anita. Bill Shoemaker, who usually rides Temperate Sil, won’t be available, since he’s riding Swink, another horse from Charlie Whittingham’s barn, in the $750,000 Rothmans International at Woodbine. . . . Whittingham plans to run Ferdinand, the likely favorite in the $3-million Breeders’ Cup Classic, in the Goodwood Handicap at Santa Anita on Nov. 7. . . . Two other Whittingham stakes winners--Hidden Light and Thrill Show--are being retired. Thrill Show, whose principal owner is Dick Duchossois, is being sold to European interests for an estimated $2 million. He will stand stud there next year. . . . Fran’s Valentine will be bred to Alydar next year. . . . Masterful Advocate, who was injured in the Kentucky Derby, is training again. . . . I’m a Banker, who was 0 for 10 this year, beat Tertiary Zone Sunday in the Kelso Handicap at Belmont.