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Fusaichi Pegasus to Miss Jockey Club Gold Cup

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fusaichi Pegasus, the country’s top 3-year-old, and Lemon Drop Kid, the nation’s best older horse, won’t be getting together in the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Trainer Neil Drysdale said Monday that a minor foot injury would keep Fusaichi Pegasus in the barn this weekend.

“He grabbed himself a little bit, so he’s going to get three days off,” Drysdale said. “ . . . We’ll train up to the Breeders’ Cup [Classic on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs].”

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Since finishing second in the Preakness, the Kentucky Derby winner has run only once, winning the Jerome at Belmont Park on Sept. 23.

With Fusaichi Pegasus skipping the Jockey Club Gold Cup, regular rider Kent Desormeaux has picked up the mount on Skimming, the winner of the San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic at Del Mar, for trainer Bobby Frankel.

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Owner-breeder Marty Wygod and jockey Eddie Delahoussaye combined for their second graded stakes win in three days at Santa Anita when Smooth Player scored a 5-1 surprise in the $204,600 Lady’s Secret Breeders’ Cup Handicap.

Following Tranquility Lake’s gate-to-wire win in Saturday’s Yellow Ribbon, Smooth Player was never far off the pace set by longshot Aristosa, then took over in the stretch to win by three lengths in 1:42 1/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.

It was the fourth win in seven main-track starts at Santa Anita for Smooth Player, a 4-year-old Bertrando filly trained by Dan Hendricks for Wygod and John Spohler.

In a race weakened considerably by the absence of Riboletta, arguably the top older filly or mare in the country, Smooth Player earned her seventh win in 17 lifetime starts, her second in a graded stakes. She previously had won the 1999 Hollywood Oaks, which, like the Lady’s Secret, is a Grade II.

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Shellbacks won for the fifth time in eight starts on the Santa Anita turf course, edging 13-1 shot Hallo Bert in the $82,100 Henry P. Russell Handicap.

A 6-year-old gelded son of Din’s Dancer trained by Bob Hess Jr., Shellbacks won in the final strides. Unbeaten in three starts at 1 1/8 miles, he completed the distance in 1:48 2/5 under Desormeaux, who won two other races Monday, and paid $5 as the 3-2 second choice.

Sardaukar, the 6-5 favorite, was third, a length behind Hallo Bert.

Notes

Jockey Corey Nakatani, sidelined since Aug. 26 after breaking his collarbone in a spill at Del Mar, is named on three horses on Wednesday’s card. . . . There is a Pick Six carry-over for Wednesday of $124,209. . . . Jockey Laffit Pincay won the first race with Rain Minister and has 8,985 victories in his career.

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