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DEL MAR : Kostroma Is Osunitas Winner

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A matchup to look forward to when the Oak Tree meeting begins next month at Santa Anita is Flawlessy versus Kostroma.

A 3-year-old daughter of Affirmed, Flawlessy was dominant against her age group in winning the San Clemente Handicap and the Del Mar Oaks.

In her first start of 1991, Kostroma was equally devastating in winning the $81,975 Osunitas Handicap Saturday. Seventh of eight for six furlongs after breaking slowly, the 5-year-old Caerleon mare unleashed a powerful run from the outside and won going away under Kent Desormeaux. At the wire, she had 2 1/4 lengths on Re Toss, the 2-1 favorite, and completed the 1 1/16 miles on turf in a stakes-record 1:41.

A possible summit meeting between the two ladies is the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon on Nov. 10.

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After winning five of 14 races in Europe, Kostroma was sent to the United States last year before the Yellow Ribbon. She ran poorly in the Grade I race, finishing eighth of 13, but she did have an excuse.

“Tommy Stack brought her over for the Yellow Ribbon, and I got her after the race,” trainer Gary Jones said. “On the van ride over to Santa Anita from the airport, she apparently twisted a shoe and then poked a hole in her foot. They just walked her for a week and then ran her. After that, we had to stop on her.

“She also got sick on us this year, so we sent her to my dad’s (Farrell Jones) farm in Hemet. We just gave her time to get better until she was ready to come back.

“I was getting worried when she was sitting back so far (in the Osunitas), but when she finally got rolling, she cut through there like a bowling ball. She’s a real nice mare and the Yellow Ribbon is in the cards next.”

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Kostroma provided Desormeaux with his second stakes victory in five days--he won the Del Mar Handicap aboard 11-1 shot My Style last Monday--and left him tied with Pat Valenzuela atop the jockey standings. With three days remaining, they both have 47 victories.

“That was fun,” Desormeaux said. “She might be somebody, this mare. The plan was to be laying second with her, behind Agirlfromars, but she didn’t break.

“She just didn’t come away from there running. So, I tried to do the best I could with her from there. When I got her outside, she really went.”

Favored on the strength of a four-length victory over the course last month, Re Toss beat Agirlfromars by a head for the place and it was another head back to Gaelic Bird. La Charlatana, who raced coupled with Kostroma, was fifth. Then came Bellefan, Flirty and Cool Rock’a.

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“I got bumped and knocked sideways (by a faltering Cool Rock’a) on the far turn,” said Eddie Delahoussaye, Re Toss’ rider. “Otherwise, I think it’s going to be a lot better horse race. I don’t want to take anything away from the winner. She ran well.

“But my horse could have been closer. I got a good run from her, though.”

Desormeaux will try for a weekend stakes sweep today aboard Twilight Agenda in the $200,000 Del Mar Budweiser Breeders’ Cup Handicap at a mile on the dirt.

The runner-up in the $1-million Pacific Classic Aug. 10, Twilight Agenda is the even-money favorite against four opponents. The Prime Minister is next at 5-2. Then comes Opening Verse and Robyn Dancer (4-1) and Jovial (12-1). Great Commotion was scratched.

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Northern Tract and Bertrando were supplemented for $10,000 before the Friday midnight deadline for Wednesday’s closing-day feature, the $283,500 Del Mar Futurity.

Trained by Doug Utley, Northern Tract won the Mid Peninsula Stakes by six lengths at Bay Meadows Aug. 15, and Bertrando won easily in his debut Aug. 25. The son of Skywalker is trained by Bruce Headley.

The 2-year-old to beat in the one-mile Futurity is Scherando, who has won the Hollywood Juvenile and the Balboa Stakes in his past two starts. Francisco Mena will again ride the son of Dimaggio for trainer Richard Mulhall.

Wayne Lukas will try for his fourth Futurity victory with Big Sur, who had won two in a row before being blitzed by stablemate Salt Lake in Saratoga’s Hopeful. Other probable starters are Balboa runner-up Star Recruit, Zurich, Enter The Player and Turbulent Kris.

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Enter The Player and Turbulent Kris, a full brother to Prized, are the only two starters who have a race--and a victory--around two turns.

Horse Racing Notes

Making his first start since finishing third in the San Bernardino Handicap March 30, Pleasant Tap was a comfortable winner in Saturday’s third race. Close to the very slow pace, the 4-year-old Pleasant Colony colt won by nearly two lengths in 1:16 1/5 for the 6 1/2 furlongs. Of Pleasant Tap’s five victories, three have come in one-turn races. He broke his maiden going seven furlongs against Grand Canyon in an Oak Tree stakes as a 2-year-old and won the seven-furlong Malibu last Dec. 26 in addition to Saturday’s win. . . . His trainer, Chris Speckert, completed a double when Keen Line won the ninth race.


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