Even though four other fillies and mares are entered in Sunday’s $210,300 Chula Vista Handicap, the Grade II event is a match race.
The nation’s best 3-year-old filly, Lite Light, will take on Brought To Mind, arguably the country’s top older female.
Idle since defeating Meadow Star in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 6 at Belmont Park, Lite Light has trained well for her return and has already shown that she likes this track. She won the Sorrento Stakes here in 1990 and was second in the Del Mar Debutante.
Brought To Mind, a more-than-adequate replacement for Bayakoa in Ron McAnally’s stable, swept Hollywood Park’s Hawthorne, Milady and Vanity handicaps. She, too, has trained well. Most recently, she worked seven furlongs in 1:25 Monday.
What happens on the track Sunday remains to be seen, but Lite Light will have a big edge in one area--most people in the paddock.
Rap star M.C. Hammer, his father Lewis Burrell, brother Louis Burrell and their entourage will be out in full force and they are almost certain to help make their Majestic Light filly the prohibitive favorite.
Although trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is happy with the way Lite Light is approaching the 1 1/16 mile Chula Vista, he is wary about her first start against older horses.
“You’d rather go against your own age group any time,” he said. “But, this is the right race for her to run in because it’s in California and it’s at the right time, coming back from the Oaks. Brought To Mind is a very good filly. I’ve been very impressed with her.
“Lite Light’s doing very well. She worked a half-mile (in 48 flat) this morning and she did it easy. She wants to run. I’m not saying we’re going to win, but we have no excuses. I look for her to come back with a good effort.”
After the Chula Vista, Lite Light is scheduled to go to Louisiana for a date with Best Pal and friends in the Super Derby. Although this isn’t Hollendorfer’s preference, he enjoys working with the Burrells.
“I’d rather just wait for the Spinster (Oct. 13 at Keeneland) and go from there to the Breeders’ Cup,” said the trainer. “If she gets past Brought To Mind, I’d have to think she’s a really big contender for the Breeders’ Cup (Distaff).
“I’ve learned a lot being around these people and it’s been a different experience. They’re very dynamic and very refreshing. I admire the way they think and do things in a big way.
“They’ve been very cordial, polite and very cooperative as far as my feelings have been concerned. As far as the training part, they don’t bother me at all.”
Instead of going to Illinois to ride Itsallgreektome in the Arlington Million, Corey Nakatani remained here to handle Lite Light, whom he has ridden six times--five of them victories.
Nakatani, who also will ride Soviet Sojourn, the probable favorite in today’s Debutante, liked Lite Light’s Friday morning workout.
“She worked great,” he said. “She was just breezing and galloped out pretty strong. She’s coming up to the race great.”
The other four Chula Vista entrants are Vieille Vigne, Jabalina Brown, Formidable Lady and Cascading Gold.
Bidding for his eighth victory without a loss on turf, Tight Spot is the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the 11th Arlington Million.
Four of the 10 horses in the 1 1/4-mile race have California connections. Besides Tight Spot, there is the Wally Dollase-trained duo of Algenib and Itsallgreektome, and Bobby Frankel will send out Arlington Handicap winner Filago.
Shane Sellers will ride Itsallgreektome for the first time and the 1990 Eclipse Award winner is the 5-1 third choice. Stablemate Algenib, who was a troubled fourth in the Eddie Read Handicap, is next at 6-1 with Kent Desormeaux riding.. Filago, who will be seeking his third straight victory, is 8-1 and will have Pat Valenzuela aboard.
The 9-2 second choice is Kartajana, a European-based filly who arrives with six victories in 11 races. Others in the lineup are Dr. Root, Izvestia, Chenin Blanc, Sagace’s Choice and Hundra.
Besides the Million, Del Mar will offer wagering on the Philip H. Iselin Handicap, the ninth leg of the American Championship Racing Series, from Monmouth Park.
The morning line favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race is Farma Way, the beaten choice in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic Aug. 10. Close behind at 2-1 is Marquetry, who upset Farma Way in the Hollywood Gold Cup while getting a 12-pound advantage. This time, the spread is three pounds, 122-119.
Chris McCarron will ride Farma Way and Gary Stevens replaces David Flores on Marquetry.
The rest of the field includes Chief Honcho, Great Normand, Roanoke, Silver Survivor, Black Tie Affair and Green Line Express.
Speaking at Friday’s California Horse Racing Board meeting, the immediate past president of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Assn. said all quarter horses in California should be blood-typed beginning March 1.
George Loeb, who operates the Loeb Ranch in Riverside, was one of four speakers for the industry Friday before the CHRB, along with Bine Master, the general manager of the PCQHRA, owner Judd Morse and trainer Dean Gallo. The pedigrees of 14 racing horses have come in question.
Go And Go won for the first time since the 1990 Belmont Stakes when he defeated Mister Frisky by 2 1/2 lengths in the Friday feature, a $55,000 classified allowance.
Making his first start since Jan. 19, the 4-year-old Be My Guest colt tracked the slow pace set by Mister Frisky and drew away through the stretch. The time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:42 3/5 and the victory was Kent Desormeaux’s third of the day.
Horse Racing Notes
Olympic Prospect, a multiple-stakes winner, has been retired, according to trainer John Sadler. The 7-year-old gelding finished with 14 victories in 32 starts but he had fallen on hard times this year and his recent workouts had been sub-par. . . . Chris McCarron was given a five-day suspension by the stewards, beginning Wednesday, for an incident in Thursday’s fifth race.