Chief Planner, Golden Eagle Top Gold Rush

Chief Planner, Golden Eagle Top Gold Rush
Photo: AP/Benoit
Chief Planner runs to victory in the Snow Chief Stakes, Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Golden Eagle Farm stallions sired three of Saturday's 10 California Gold Rush winners at Hollywood Park, including Chief Planner, who captured the featured $250,000 Snow Chief for 3-year-olds.

Total handle for Saturday's California Gold Rush IV at Hollywood Park of $17,230,858 set an event record, which was nearly more than $1 million more than last year's series.

Last year's total handle for the California bred races was $16,277,225, an increase Saturday of 5.9 %. The previous record was $17,160,595 in 2001.

On-track attendance dropped from 16,205 to 14,600 (9.9 %) and on-track handle fell from $3,501,052 to $3,087,736 (11.8 %).

The big winner on the day was Golden Eagle Farms, in spite of General Challenge's disappointing comeback in the Tiznow Stakes. Horses sired by Golden Eagle stallions won three of the 10 races.

Chief Planner, impressive winner of the $250,000 Citibank Snow Chief Stakes, and Five Star Meeting, winner of the Lakeview Thoroughbred Farms Stakes, represented General Meeting. Joey Franco, a son of Golden Eagle stallion Avenue of Flags, won the $150,000 Tiznow.

Jockey Mike Smith had a forgettable day. He was dumped twice. He was in the lead at the top of the stretch in the $150,000 TVG Khaled Stakes aboard Prized Friend when the 7-year-old gelding crashed through the collapsing rail, tossing Smith. He was being kept for observation.

After Prized Friend's mishap, Sea To See inherited the lead and the win in the TVG Khaled Stakes. Shalini took the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes and Cee's Elegance won the $150,000 CTT B. Thoughtful Stakes.

$250,000 Citibank Snow Chief Stakes
Chief Planner relished the added distance Saturday with an impressive seven-length win in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes, the featured event on the $1.3 million California Gold Rush Day card at Hollywood Park.

Chief Planner is by General Meeting, out of the Fappiano mare Flag of Freedom, and was bred by Mr. and Mrs. John Mabee. In his first two-turn start, he ran the 1 1/8 mile in a stakes record 1:49.12. The previous record was 1:50 1/5, set by Cliquot in 1999 and Grey Memo in 2000.

"I was just waiting for this horse to go long," said jockey David Flores. "He finished really strong without even trying. He definitely has a future. I'd been waiting for this and I'm glad I was on him."

Chief Planner is owned by Golden Eagle Farm and trained by Bob Baffert.

Chief Planner, the second choice in the wagering with only a maiden win in six previous races, rode the rail and blew past Uncle Jack and 124-pound high weight Excessivepleasure turning for home, then drew off willingly. He went off as the 9-5 second choice. Favored Excessivepleasure was second and Tiz A Coup was third.

The $150,000 first-place purse raised Chief Planner's career earnings to $267,796.

Bold N Broke, who was off slowly, broke both knees and fell at the half-mile pole, unseating rider Mike Smith, who took off his next mount.

$200,000 CTBA Melair Stakes
Bartok's Blithe, outrun early, closed furiously through the stretch to take a three-quarter length victory over Princess V. in the $200,000 CTBA Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Bartok's Blithe is by Bartok, the first foal out of the Roanoke mare Merry Krisoke, and was bred by Morry Cohen. Bartok's Blithe's second win in seven races was worth $120,000, boosting her career earnings to $185,616. She previously had finished fourth in the Landaluce Stakes (gr. III), then was sidelined for eight months. This was her third start back from the break.

The 5-2 second choice, Bartok's Blithe is owned by 5C Racing Stable. The win was trainer Jorge Gutierrez's first in a stakes. Victor Espinoza was in the saddle for his second win on the card.

In her first try around two turns, Bartok's Blithe ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.87. She was coming off a second in a March 30 allowance race won by Princess V.

$150,000 Tiznow Stakes
Favored Joey Franco outdueled Ride And Shine down the stretch for a length victory in the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes. General Challenge was last in his first race since August of 2000.

Joey Franco is a 4-year-old colt by Avenue of Flags, out of the Native Prospector mare Susan Powter, and was bred by owner Jerry Frankel. He was trained by Darrell Vienna and ridden by Kent Desormeaux. He is a half-brother to the stakes winner Miss Lawless.

This was Joey Franco's fifth win in 12 starts, raising his career earnings to $310,816. His only previous stakes win came in the Sept. 6 El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar, his fourth consecutive victory. Most recently he finished second to Bluesthestandard in the Potrero Grande Breeders Cup Handicap (gr. II).

Joey Franco, the 5-2 favorite, ran the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:28.04 and finished a length in front of Bonus Pay Day, with Commander's Flag third.

General Challenge, making his first start since the 2000 Pacific Classic, contended down the backstretch, couldn't keep up around the turn and was eased by jockey Corey Nakatani. Owner Betty Mabee said earlier in the week that the 7-year-old multiple Grade I winner would be retired if he did not run a competitive race.

$150,000 TVG Khaled Stakes
Sea To See rallied wide from last to win the $150,000 TVG Khaled Stakes by a neck in a race marred when Prized Friend, leading while turning into the stretch, ducked through the rail and fell, injuring jockey Mike Smith.

Sea To See is by Al Mamoon, out of the Desert Wine mare Sea Caylee Run, and was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Bart Heller. He was claimed Feb. 1 for $62,500 and was coming off a third-place finish in the Mar. 23 Crystal Water Handicap.

It was the fifth win in 24 starts for Sea To See, winner of the 2001 Half Moon Bay Handicap. His career earnings increased to $334,036. He is owned by Soares & Suarez, trained by Doug O'Neill and was ridden by Alex Solis. He went off a 7-2 third choice and was timed in 1:47.60 for the 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Native Desert, the 10-year-old defending champ, was second with Lily's Lad third. Gary Stevens, Native Desert's jockey, said the veteran pulled himself up when he found himself in the lead after Prized Friend fell.

In the incident at the top of the stretch, Prized Friend, leading by two lengths, took a left turn through the rail, tossing Smith into the rail. Prized Friend fell, scrambled to his feet, and started running the wrong way on the turf course.

Smith, who was shaken two races earlier when his mount Bold N Broke fell, was taken from the track to Centinela Hospital in an ambulance. Initial reports indicated no major injuries, but he was being kept for observation and tests. Prized Friend was captured and walked into the van.

$150,000 TOC Fran's Valentine Stakes
Shalini closed with a rush between horses to score by a neck in the $150,000 TOC Fran's Valentine Stakes for older fillies and mares.

Shalini is by Urgent Request, out of the Falstaff mare Code It Nikki, and was bred by Briere Thoroughbreds. She ran the 1 1/16 mile on turf in 1:41.41 and went off as the 5-2 second choice.

The win was the fourth in 16 career starts for Shalini, who increased her earnings to $257,396.

Breeders James and Richard Briere are the owners, Craig Dollase the trainer and Corey Nakatani the jockey.

$150,000 CTT B. Thoughtful Stakes
Favored Cee's Elegance took command around the turn and held off a determined Jetinto Houston to take the $150,000 CTT B. Thoughtful Stakes for older fillies and mares Saturday.

Cee's Elegance is by Cee's Tizzy, out of the Norcliffe mare Elegant Beauty and was bred by Cecilia Straub-Rubens. ran the seven furlongs in 1:21.70 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Jetinto Houston. Real Paranoide was third.

(Chart, Equibase)

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