Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Trainer Ken McPeek sending Frac Daddy to Del Mar

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s premiere race, the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24, is turning into quite a race, already.
On Sunday, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the undefeated 3-year-old Shared Belief, owned in part by media mogul Jim Rome, would be pointed for the Del Mar race at 1 1/4 on the Polytrack.
On Tuesday, trainer Ken McPeek confirmed his 4-year-old Frac Daddy would board a plane bound for Del Mar next Wednesday with the intention of running in the July 26 San Diego Handicap as a prep for the Pacific Classic.
“We’re pointing for the San Diego with the Pacific Classic as the goal,” said McPeek by telephone. “He’s doing extremely well.”
Frac Daddy is a synthetic surface special with three wins in four tries and earnings of $264,756 on Polytrack. The son of Scat Daddy saw his undefeated record on the surface come to an end July 1 when he finished second in the Grade III Dominion Day stakes at Woodbine Race Course in Toronto.
Despite being the overwhelming favorite, Frac Daddy finished second in the 1 1/4 race to Sky Captain, trained by Mark Casse, who is sending a string of 30 to 40 horses to Del Mar this summer for the first time. There is no official word from the Casse barn as to whether Sky Captain might make the trip, too. The 4-year-old son of Sky Mesa is now a perfect 3-for-3 on Polytrack.

For McPeek’s part, he is taking the blame for the loss at Woodbine.

“I think I ran a short horse,” he said. “I’ll take the bullet for that.
“He was out of his element in the race. He likes to sit outside and he was inside (under jockey Luis Contreras). He scooted along, but he never relaxed. I think I didn’t do enough with him (before the race).”
Frac Daddy, who has earned $674,036 in his career with five wins from 17 races, was coming off a 5-length win in the Eclipse Stakes at Woodbine on June 1.
McPeek said it looks like Frac Daddy will fly to Del Mar on July 16 and be stabled with trainer Blake Heap.
McPeek said he doesn’t have a rider yet for the San Diego, which will be run at 1 1/16-mile on the Polytrack.
As for facing last year’s 2-year-old champion Shared Belief at Del Mar, McPeek isn’t worried. Shared Belief is a perfect 4-for-4 on synthetic tracks and won last Saturday’s $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby in his first race on dirt.
“Facing older horses is a different bear all together,” he said. “He’s a very nice horse. (The Pacific Classic) should be a great race.”
If McPeek’s name sounds familiar, it should. He has earned $61 million in his training career. He won the 2002 Belmont Stakes with Sarava and finished second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby with Tejano Run. He also finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita with Golden Ticket.
McPeek is also the owner of the Horse Races Now app, which he started 14 months ago and has more than 200,000 followers. The app allows people to see entries, results, live video, race replays, news and most importantly wager on races.
“It hasn’t been easy starting it,” said McPeek, “but it’s something the industry needed.”
More information on the app is available at
@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown

Coburn: Still a Dumb Ass (Partner)

Despite his “apology” Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning, America,” California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn is still a Dumb Ass, just like his stable name (Dumb Ass Partners) says.

I love how a lot of people are lauding Coburn for finally stepping up to rectify the situation he created after Saturday’s Belmont Stakes loss when he basically called the owners of Tonalist and Commissioner “cheaters” for not running in the other two legs of the Triple Crown.

The man didn’t rectify anything.

Did you see the interview with Robin Roberts? The man was choking on every word he said. He had a hard time getting them out because he didn’t believe them. He was bullied into Monday’s apology. Check it out here:

The time to apologize for Saturday’s rant on national television was Sunday morning. Instead, Coburn went back on national TV and compounded the situation by stating the situation was akin to him playing basketball against a child in a wheelchair. How does one defend that? That was so wrong, it’s unbelievable.

The Triple Crown is meant to be hard. That’s why we haven’t had a winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 36 years. A super horse hasn’t been born to do it. So be it.

In last week’s build up to the Belmont, I was still amazed Real Quiet lost his Belmont to Victory Gallop. I covered Real Quiet’s Preakness that year and for him to lose by a nose in New York still is unfathomable.

But back to the point at hand, even if Coburn and others associated with California Chrome were complaining about the Triple Crown system and dates of the races beforehand, you knew what you were getting into when you started the journey. Three wins in five weeks. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about all the new shooters in the Preakness.

Now after losing, Coburn is bitching and moaning.

I don’t feel sorry for Coburn one bit.

I feel sorry for the man’s wife, who tried to reel him in on Saturday, but was rebuffed. The woman must be a saint.

I feel sorry for others like trainer Art Sherman and his son, Steve, a trainer in his won right who stayed with Chrome on the East Coast for five weeks. I feel for the exercise rider and other barn personnel.

There is a long way to go this year, but if California Chrome ends up not winning the Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old, it might end being Coburn’s fault, and that’s just not right. I don’t have a vote, but I guarantee that if it comes down to coin flip, there will be voters who don’t vote for the horse due to Coburn’s ignorance.

One reporter tweeted on Saturday that after meeting Coburn earlier on the Triple Crown trail, he knew it was just a matter of time before the man blew up.

There’s no doubt, Steve Coburn has lived up to his barn’s name: Dumb Ass (Partners), and no apology is going to change that.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Magna Warrior $5.60, first race; Babe’s Journey $10.40, fifth; Soi Phet $7.40, sixth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 5 (Elegant $6.40, second; Natalie Paige $6.40, fourth; Red N Black Attack $6, seventh; Unusual Heatwave $16.80, eighth; Nothing to Hide $4.40, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Myrna Lou $8.80, first)

Horse racing

Del Mar picks for Saturday, July 27

FIRST RACE: 1. Inner Groove, 2. Night Dance, 3. Lilly’s Perfect. LONG SHOT: Skinny Genes.

INNER GROOVE is 2-for-2 over the Polytrack and draws the cozy No. 1 post going long. Expect jockey Joe Talamo to go to the front and let them try and catch him.


SECOND RACE: 1. American Pride, 2. Little Shack, 3. Bond Holder. LONG SHOT: Papa’s Paisley.

AMERICAN PRIDE has some experience while many in this race are running for the first time. This appears to be a wide open event.


THIRD RACE: 1. U R My Candy Girl, 2. Scary Fast, 3. Secret Memo. LONG SHOT: Katey Pie.

Bejarano and trainer Bill Morey are a tough team to beat which makes U R MY CANDY GIRL interesting first time off the claim.


FOURTH RACE (Fleet Treat Stakes): 1. DOINGHARDTIMEAGAIN, 2. Sweet Marini, 3. Tribal Peace. LONG SHOT: Zuzu’s Petals.

DOINGHARDTIMEAGAIN just won the Grade II Hollywood Oaks and she drops into a Cal-bred stakes to get a little chump change for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and Bejarano.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Splendiferous Moon, 2. Bas, 3. Now Hope. LONG SHOT: Patienceisavirtue.

Trainer John Sadler drops this daughter of Malibu Moon after a brief freshening. Jockey Edwin Maldonado takes over and should put her in the winning spot.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Magic Daddy, 2. Quality Plan, 3. Sweet Sunshine. LONG SHOT: Chief Lion.

Another maiden race, but this one is 3-year-olds and up. Trainer Bob Baffert seems to be putting Martin Garcia on his well meant horses and Bejarano on the second string. That’s what we have here in MAGIC DADDY, a first-time starter, and QUALITY PLAN. Can you say exacta box?


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Bio Pro, 2. Tom’s Tribute, 3. Swift Eagle. LONG SHOT: Somethings Unusual.

There’s a reason this race is in the Pick 6, because it’s tough. Trainer Howard Zucker always points to Del Mar and is sneaky on the grass. His BIO PRO is coming off a win and moving up in company.


EIGHTH RACE (San Diego Handicap): 1. Liaison, 2. Paynter, 3. Clubhouse Ride. LONG SHOT: Chief Havoc.

Am totally shocked to see Paynter run on the Polytrack. Baffert hates it. His owner, Zayat Stables LLC, hates it. Only reason must be to keep the last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up close to home. Still, going to take the “other” Baffert, Liaison. He has a third over the Del Mar Poly and he is 3-for-6 at the distance. Totally left KETTLE CORN out of the top four because think he’s coming back too soon after a second-place finish to Game on Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup.


NINTH RACE: 1. Corsa Di Cavalli, 2. Judge Carr, 3. Salah Champ. LONG SHOT: Life a Riley.

CORSA DI CAVALLI is coming off a two-year layoff, but if anyone can get the 4-year-old colt ready it’s Sadler. The son of After Market broke his maiden at first asking at the seaside oval.


10TH RACE: 1. Iconic Spirit, 2. Tappingintherain, 3. Winning Rhythm. LONG SHOT: Charm Catcher.

Could be a big day for the Sadler barn. ICONIC SPIRIT finished second at this level four straight times and today is graduation day. TAPPINGINTHERAIN is by Tapit and should appreciate the extra distance. She might go to the front on the stretch out.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing

Del Mar picks, Thursday July 25

 FIRST RACE: 1. Dancing Lute, 2. Egyptian Femme, 3. Devious Chic. LONG SHOT: Say Say.

Northern California shippers have done well at the meet and DANCING LUTE has two wins in four lifetimes races. Plus, he gets the services of leading rider Rafael Bejarano.


SECOND RACE: 1. Miss Lafayette, 2. Cadron, 3. L T Reckless. LONG SHOT: Fashionable Rich.

Tough 2-year-old filly race here with trainer Bob Baffert holding two cards in CADRON and EXOTIC BEHAVIOR. However, trainer Craig Dollase has been on fire with first-time starters of late and MISS LAFAYETTE has been training well. The only drawback is starting from the No. 1 post.


THIRD RACE: 1. Shadow Runner, 2. Facoltoso, 3. Lil Bit O’Fun. LONG SHOT: Deputiformer.

SHADOW RUNNER is first off the claim for trainer Richard Baltas, who is 2-for-5 in that move. On top of that, Bejarano sees fit to ride and they have teamed up to win 4-of-12 races.


FOURTH RACE: 1. JAZILLIONAIRE (best bet), 2. Afflication, 3. Matagot. LONG SHOT: Annunaki.

JAZILLIONAIRE is by Belmont Stakes winner Jazil and bred to like this trip. He puts blinkers on and has a big work over the Polytrack. All systems say go with jockey Joe Talamo.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Sugar Spice, 2. Salty Forecast, 3. Abella. LONG SHOT: Saturday Nite Wish.

SUGAR SPICE has been away from the races since January, but has been working well for her return and comes out of a key race.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Kid Dreams, 2. Bench Light, 3. Danderek. LONG SHOT: Vibrate Jazz.

KID DREAMS was sent to Canada to try to run in the Queen’s Plate, but just wasn’t good enough. He returns to the Polytrack locally after getting severely interfered with in a fourth-place effort at Woodbine. Look for an improved effort.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Castaway, 2. Chiloquin, 3. Mobilized. LONG SHOT: Isn’t He Clever.

CASTAWAY comes off a break freshening for Baffert and Bejarano stays aboard. Some times taking the short price is the right way to go.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Patriot C H, 2. Tickle Again, 3. Hot and Pleasing. LONG SHOT: Sidepocket Run.

PATRIOT C H makes the second start of her career. Victor Espinoza jumps off HOT AND PLEASING to ride her for trainer Carla Gaines. The Harris Farm homebred should relish the turf and the distance.