Borrego too ill for Tokyo City
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Borrego, who finished third in the Santa Anita Handicap last month, will miss Saturday's $100,000 Tokyo City Handicap for older horses after contracting a virus earlier this week. The defection robs the race of a much-needed top contender.
Trainer Beau Greely said Borrego was found to have the virus after a workout last Sunday.
"He was a little flat," Greely said. "He was dragging when he was cooling out."
Borrego will be pointed for the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 14, Greely said.
Borrego would have been a standout in the Tokyo City, which is run over 1 1/8 miles. Previously known as the San Bernardino Handicap, the Tokyo City will have a weak field.
As of Wednesday, the field was likely to number only four or five - Ender's Shadow, Outta Here, Skukuza, Supah Blitz, and That's an Outrage. None is a stakes winner this year. Ender's Shadow and Skukuza are not definite starters, their trainers said.
Supah Blitz won two stakes last year, including the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap in September, but has been fifth or worse in his last three starts. In the Santa Anita Handicap, Supah Blitz finished last of 11.
The Tokyo City marks a disappointing conclusion to stakes for the older horse division at this meeting, which was highlighted by Rock Hard Ten's win in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5.
Another factor working against the Tokyo City is the absence of three local horses who raced in the $6 million Dubai World Cup last Saturday, and two horses who won stakes earlier at the meeting.
There were three California-based runners in the World Cup, which was won by the Florida shipper Roses in May. Choctaw Nation finished third, Congrats was fifth, and Lundy's Liability finished seventh. Choctaw Nation won the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar last summer. Congrats (San Pasqual Handicap) and Lundy's Liability (San Antonio Handicap) won stakes earlier at this meet.
Rock Hard Ten is only in light training, while Truly a Judge, who won the San Gabriel Handicap in January, is being given a break.
Trainer Richard Mandella said Rock Hard Ten may start at Hollywood Park this summer.
"He's gained 100 pounds and we were happy with that," he said. "The Hollywood Gold Cup is a thought."
Mandella trains Congrats, but will not have a starter in the Tokyo City. He said the timing of the race, and the presence of the $500,000 Oaklawn Park Handicap on April 9 are reasons for the weak field.
"The race has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle," he said. "If you have a good horse, you go to Oaklawn Park."
Solis gets ride on Wannawinemall
Jockey Alex Solis has been named to ride Wannawinemall for the first time in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
The leading prep in California for the Kentucky Derby, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby has eight other probable starters - Buzzards Bay, Don't Get Mad, Giacomo, Golden Shine, Go Coyote Joe, Sweet Catomine, Texcess, and Wilko.
Wannawinemall, trained by Kristin Mulhall, finished second in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby over 1 1/16 miles at Bay Meadows on March 12, his stakes debut. He beat maidens by four lengths in his third career start on Feb. 17.
Wannawinemall bled from the lungs in the El Camino Real, but co-owner Chuck Winner said the colt has undergone treatment in recent weeks and has responded well. Wannawinemall did not bleed after a six-furlong workout on Sunday.
"I think we've got the bleeding under control," Winner said. "He's doing great."
Texcess, last of nine in the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park last Saturday, will make a two-week turnaround for the Santa Anita Derby, trainer Paul Aguirre said.
Aguirre said the off track at Turfway did not suit Texcess, the champion California-bred 2-year-old male of 2004.
"He couldn't stand up in the mud," Aguirre said. "I don't think it took anything out of him. He didn't go a quarter-mile and you could see he couldn't get a hold."
Aguirre said the lack of a strong pacesetter makes the Santa Anita Derby an attractive race for Texcess. Aguirre said the results would determine whether Texcess starts in the Kentucky Derby.
"Our Kentucky Derby may be the Santa Anita Derby," he said.
Golden Shine, who finished fifth in his stakes debut in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 19, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.
Pico Central gets extended vacation
Pico Central, a top sprinter from 2004 who finished fourth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai last Saturday, will be given a break after he returns to trainer Paulo Lobo's stable at Hollywood Park this weekend.
Lobo said Pico Central will be pointed for the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park in the fall with a prep race or two likely in advance.
"He's going to rest a little," Lobo said.
Pico Central, the heavy favorite, finished a troubled fourth in the Golden Shaheen, losing by 1 1/2 lengths to Saratoga County. Midway through the straightaway six furlongs, Pico Central took up under Solis when in tight quarters.
Solis claimed foul against the winner, but it was disallowed by the stewards.
Pico Central was bothered by a quarter crack earlier this year, but Lobo insists that did not cause the loss.
"The foot is no problem," he said. "My opinion is he didn't handle the track. He was running uncomfortably and he was squeezed."
Pico Central was a finalist for the 2004 Eclipse Award as outstanding sprinter. He won four stakes last year, including the Vosburgh.
* Jockey Felipe Martinez has been suspended three days for careless riding in the fourth race March 20. Martinez rode race winner Holiday Fun and was cited for altering course without sufficient clearance and causing interference. The stewards did not alter the placings. The suspension began Wednesday and continues through Friday.