Principle Secret, one of the country’s most heralded 2-year-olds in 2006, will try to turn the tables on unbeaten Try To Fly as he makes his second 2007 start in Sunday’s contentious Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park.
Principle Secret, owned by Charles Cono and trained by Christopher Paasch, broke his maiden at Hollywood last summer before winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar. He was beaten a neck in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita before setting a brisk pace and fading to 14th in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
"He came back with a cut on his rear hind leg, in the fleshy area above his hock, inside between the legs," Paasch said. "It required eight stitches. I think he got kicked going to the gate. He was sore for quite a while. I ran him back in the Hollywood Futurity (in which he finished eighth, beaten by four lengths). He had a 104-degree temperature the following morning. I gave him some time and brought him back this spring. I just kept him in real light training. I tack-walked him for 60 days."
Principle Secret seems to be back after finishing a fast-closing second -- beaten a half-length by Try to Fly -- in the 6 1/2-furlong San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita on April 8. He worked five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 in his final drill for the Barrera, which will be contested at seven furlongs on Cushion Track. Alex Solis, seeking his third Barrera victory in four years, has the call.
"He went the first eighth in 13 and change and the rider let him out a little down the lane," Paasch said of the workout. "He was a little unlucky in the San Pedro. He was four-wide on the turn, and the other horse got the trip. If he steps it up two or three lengths, he will be awful hard to beat."
Try to Fly, trained by Doug O’Neill for Mercedes Stable, was a 5 1/4-length victor in his career debut March 3, then rallied between horses under 17-year-old apprentice jockey Joe Talamo to win the San Pedro on the Santa Anita Derby undercard. The son of Trippi has been training smartly on Cushion Track in preparation for the Barrera.
Desert Code has won three of five starts since arriving in the David Hofmans barn. Shifted to turf, he is a nose short of perfection in his last three starts. He won the Baldwin (gr. IIIT) and was narrowly beaten in the La Puente while making his last start on April 14.
Euroglide is also unbeaten in two starts. The Peter Eurton-trained son of Honor Glide was a 6 1/4-length winner in his career bow and came back to register a front-running victory at the Barrera distance in his second start on April 19.
Hurry Home Warren, also entered in Saturday’s Will Rogers Stakes on turf, won the Harry Henson Stakes on the Lakeside Turf Course on April 27. He has won two of nine starts for owner Christopher Drakos and trainer Jesse Mendoza, while finishing second five times.
$100,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:50 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Scat Thief (KY), 115, Michael C. Baze
2. Abalanche (FL), 115, Victor Espinoza
3. Try to Fly (FL), 121, Joseph Talamo
4. Principle Secret (KY), 123, Alex O. Solis
5. Euroglide (FL), 117, Corey S. Nakatani
6. Hurry Home Warren (KY), 121, David Cohen
7. Desert Code (KY), 123, Richard Migliore
8. Time to Get Even (KY), 115, Alex Bisono
9. Robbos Courage (KY), 115, David R. Flores
10. Taxi Fleet (FL), 115, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
11. Another Kris (FL), 119, Aaron T. Gryder