DEL MAR : Nakatani to Head for Belmont After Del Mar, Joining Stevens


Jockey Corey Nakatani will be heading to New York after Del Mar racing ends Sept. 13 and will ride at Belmont Park until the Oak Tree meeting begins Oct. 4 at Santa Anita.

Nakatani, who leads the nation’s riders in money won, will join Gary Stevens, who will ride at Belmont through October. Belmont will conduct Breeders’ Cup XII on Oct. 28.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Nakatani said. “It’s a chance to get used to riding at Belmont.

"[Trainer] Bobby Frankel is going to be sending [10] horses there [in September] and [trainer] Scotty Schulhofer said when he was out here for the [1993] Breeders’ Cup that he would give us something to ride if we ever went to New York, and Nick Zito [has also expressed interest]. I’ll try to ride for everybody if they give us a chance to.


“It’s an opportunity to let everybody there get a chance to know me and see how I ride. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to ride some horses in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Nakatani also has mounts lined up for two important 3-year-old stakes. He will ride Petionville, whom he rode in the colt’s recent victory in the La Jolla Handicap, in the Molson Million on Sept. 17 at Woodbine in Toronto. Thirteen days later, he will ride Dazzling Falls in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.


Frankel will be represented only by Possibly Perfect in the $500,000 Beverly D. Handicap on Saturday at Arlington International in suburban Chicago because Wandesta, who won the Santa Ana and Santa Barbara handicaps earlier this year at Santa Anita, has a splint injury.


“She’s doing OK, but I don’t want to ruin her for the fall,” Frankel said. “She’ll come back for either the Yellow Ribbon [at Santa Anita] or the Matriarch [at Hollywood Park].”

Possibly Perfect, who won the Grade I Ramona Handicap earlier this month, worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 Monday morning and will be shipped to Illinois on Wednesday.


Cobra King, who broke his maiden with a six-length victory in his second start, is the 8-5 favorite against seven opponents in the $100,000 Balboa Stakes on Wednesday.

Owned by Betty Biszantz, the 2-year-old Farma Way colt lost by a head to Double Brass in a Golden Gate stakes on June 25, then came south and dominated maidens on July 30.

Trained by Mike Puype, who won the recent Escondido Handicap with longshot Varadavour, Cobra King drew the favorable outside post and will be ridden by Russell Baze.

The 5-2 second choice is Northern Afleet, who won his debut Aug. 6 by 2 1/2 lengths for trainer Warren Stute. However, he drew the rail, which has not been the greatest place to be in sprints at this meeting.

Rounding out the field are Hollywood Juvenile runner-up Reef Reef, who will be coupled in the betting with Come On Get Happy, and Nightcapper, Halo Sunshine, Desert Native and Jimmy Hoofa.


Horse Racing Notes

Chris McCarron had three winners for the second consecutive day. He won the first two races with 6-1 shot Gypsy Lullaby and 13-1 outsider Complot, then completed his triple with 7-2 shot Prosperous De Oro in the sixth. . . . Chris Antley was suspended for five days, beginning Thursday, for an incident in Saturday’s third race. . . . After a one-day carry-over in the Pick Six, there were two perfect tickets Monday, each worth $124,464.20.