Mandella, Mitchell to Take on Baffert Bunch
Updated: Saturday, September 7, 2002 8:28 PM
Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2002 8:28 PM
Trainers Richard Mandella and Mike Mitchell confirmed Saturday that they would join William Currin in an attempt to derail the Bob Baffert Express in the upcoming $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II).
The seven-furlong Futurity is Wednesday, the closing day of the track's 43-day race meet.
Baffert has steamed to the Futurity winner's circle six straight times. Del Mar's five-time leading trainer figures to enter as many as five 2-year-olds this time.
Mandella will saddle Gentlemen's Club and Mitchell will send out Total Advantage. They join Currin's Outta Here in the Futurity quest.
The decisions on Gentlemen's Club and Total Advantage were made after each worked Friday and an allowance race that both trainers were aiming for didn't fill.
"I'm out of options," said Mandella. "I was hoping to run in an allowance race. I like the horse. I hate to have to do this to him. He's run once, a couple of months ago, and he deserves a little easier graduation point.
"I think he's a pretty good horse and I think he's suited to seven-eighths, so we will do it."
Mitchell's response was much the same. "It's not by my own choice," Mitchell said. "We've been trying to get this allowance race to go. I just really didn't want to run against Bob's horses. It looks like he's loaded.
"But, my horse is doing good. I backed off of him from his last race. I thought I could get a winner's race of some kind before the end of the meet, but we can't do it, so I'm putting him in the Futurity."
Both horses broke their maidens at Hollywood Park, Gentlemen's Club at 5 furlongs June 9 and Total Advantage at 5 1/2 furlongs July 20. Alex Solis will ride Gentlemen's Club and Laffit Pincay, Jr. will be up on Total Advantage.
The Baffert Brigade is expected to include Icecoldbeeratreds, who won Del Mar's Graduation Stakes for California-bred males; Kafwain, winner of Best Pal Stakes (gr. III); Chief Planner, the Best Pal runner-up; and Friendly Mike and Bull Market, both maiden winners without any stakes experience.
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