DEL MAR : Forty Niner Days Staying Home, Will Run in Invitational Monday
After stakes appearances in Northern California, New Jersey and Illinois, Forty Niner Days will be staying home for the Labor Day weekend.
Rather than run him in Monday’s San Francisco Handicap at Bay Meadows, owner Sid Field has decided to try the gray gelding in the $300,000 Del Mar Invitational Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf the same day.
A 4-year-old son of Conquistador Cielo, Forty Niner Days will go on the road again soon. His next trip will also be his longest.
Plans call for him to go to England and compete in the one-mile Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 28 at Ascot. The race is a Group I and, according to trainer Roger Stein, the winner’s share of the purse is “about $600,000.”
“I was approached during the Hollywood Park meeting about possibly sending this horse over there,” Stein said. “I brought it to Sid’s attention and thought that it would be kind of unique.”
Of course, such a trip is costly, but neither owner nor trainer has anything to worry about in that regard.
“They’ve told us from the time we leave California until the time we get back, everything will be paid for,” Stein said. “They’re anxious to have an American horse run over there, and if he goes, he’ll be the only one.”
A multiple-stakes winner this year and second behind Exbourne in the Caesars International at Atlantic City last month, Forty Niner Days finished fourth behind Filago in the Arlington Handicap with no excuses.
“I was disappointed with his last start and I don’t know what to expect Monday,” Stein said. “If it was up to me, I wouldn’t be running him. At this point, the horse will run wherever and whenever the owner wants to run.
“I really believe if he wasn’t running Monday, he’d have a good chance to win (in England). Or, if he didn’t win, he would be very competitive. We’re going to go from 1 3/8 miles back to a mile, and I don’t know if it can be done.”
Still, there’s a certain someone across the Atlantic Stein said he doesn’t want to let down.
“I heard the Queen wants to meet me, and I don’t want to disappoint her,” he said.
A distant third in his comeback sprint, Mister Frisky will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles today in Del Mar’s feature, a $55,000 classified allowance.
Although the 4-year-old Marsayas colt will have only five rivals, the field has come up strong. The others are Go And Go, the 1990 Belmont Stakes winner who will be making his first start since Jan. 19; Raj Waki, who will be making his initial try on dirt; Jovial, Stylish Winner and Beirne Station.
Beaten by six lengths by Burn Annie and Deposit Ticket on Aug. 2, his first race since last year’s Preakness, Mister Frisky seemed destined for the Rainier Mile at Longacres Park in Renton, Wash., last Sunday. But, trainer Joe Garcia decided to wait and keep the horse here.
“The first race took a little bit more out of him than I thought it would,” Garcia said. “I thought it was too soon to ship this horse after he’d been away so long. There will be plenty of opportunities to ship around later.
“He’s fine. This race is like a stakes race. You can’t find an easy spot for this horse.”
Mister Frisky will have a new rider today. David Flores takes over, replacing Gary Stevens, who has ridden the horse in all six of his U.S. races. Stevens will be aboard Beirne Station, who figures to be the longest shot in the field.
“When we were still considering (the Rainier Mile), Gary had already committed to Louis Cyphre (who won the race),” Garcia said. “So, we were going to be searching for a rider regardless. David’s one of the top riders. He hasn’t ridden or worked Mister Frisky, but this horse doesn’t have any bad habits.”
Go And Go, lightly raced since his 8 1/4-length romp in the ’90 Belmont, has been training well for Wayne Lukas, whose objective with the 4-year-old Be My Guest colt is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Go And Go hasn’t won in five starts since the Belmont and hasn’t been out since finishing a distant third behind In Excess in the San Fernando Stakes.
A well-regarded colt overseas, Raj Waki was second to Algenib in his U.S. debut July 13 at Hollywood Park, then ran last in the Eddie Read Handicap. Patrick Valenzuela will be back aboard for trainer Charlie Whittingham today and Raj Waki’s works suggest he’ll handle the main track.
Soviet Sojourn, who already has stakes victories in the Junior Miss and Sorrento, will try for a sweep of Del Mar’s 2-year-old filly series when she races eight in Saturday’s $254,000 Del Mar Debutante.
The one-mile Debutante will mark the first try around two turns for any of the starters. A short price in both the Junior Miss and Sorrento, Soviet Sojourn will be heavily favored Saturday.
“She’s doing great, but she still has to go out there and do the job,” said trainer Bob Baffert.
Her opponents are La Spia and She’s Tops, who ran 2-3 in the Sorrento; Wicked Wit, who was a troubled second in the Junior Miss before coming back to win the Generous Portion; recent maiden winners Cherry A La Mode, Classic Event, My Grace and Full Time Friend. Illustrious Lady, a maiden who has started only once, rounds out the field.
Horse Racing Notes
For the first time, the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita will offer $2 minimum exactas. Unlike Hollywood Park and Del Mar, they won’t be offered on every race. Instead, there will be five exacta races. There also will be another $3 triple--on races 3-5 in addition to the one on races 6-8. The 32-day Oak Tree meeting begins Oct. 2. . . . Trevor Denman will be at Arlington International Racecourse on Sunday to call the Arlington Million for ABC, so Alan Buchdahl will take his place at Del Mar.