Surf Cat headlines the Pat O'Brien.

Surf Cat headlines the Pat O'Brien.


Surf Cat Looks to Help Headley

Surf Cat is looking to win his first race of the year in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 19.

Bob Baffert is not the only successful veteran trainer who is having difficulty winning on synthetic surfaces. Count Bruce Headley among those who have been unable to conquer Cushion Track at Hollywood Park or Polytrack at Del Mar.

On Aug. 19, Headley will be looking to end his four-month winless skid, as he saddles multiple grade II winner Surf Cat in the 22nd running of the $300,000 Pat O’Brien Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar.

A 5-year-old son of Sir Cat, Surf Cat will be making only his second start in the last 14 months, this coming after a perfect 3-0 2006 campaign in which he won three grade II races in California.

Headley has not won a race at either Hollywood or Del Mar since April 13, although his starters have finished second on several occasions. Surf Cat is expected to be among the favorites in the seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up on Polytrack.

Bred in Kentucky by William Taylor Nicholls and Gainsway Farm, Surf Cat has won seven of 12 career starts, four of them graded stakes. After winning the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) in May 2006, Surf Cat suffered foot problems and was given time to rest. He made his comeback at Hollywood July 7 in the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I), but was beaten a head by Bilo after coming from well off the pace.

Also in the field are a pair of 6-year-old grade I winners, Greg’s Gold and Bordonaro, who ran second and third, respectively, in the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar July 29. Greg’s Gold, a son of Lake George, has won four of his last seven attempts, including the Tiznow Stakes at Hollywood Park April 29.

Rounding out the field of six are Publication, Soul City Slew, and Absolute Glory.

The winner of the Pat O’Brien will receive a berth in the Breeders’ Cup TVG Sprint.

$300,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II, Race 3, 2 p.m. PDT), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Polytrack)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Soul City Slew (KY), 113, Julien Leparoux
2. Absolute Glory (KY), 111, Alonso Quinonez
3. Publication (KY), 115, Michael Baze
4. Bordonaro (CA), 119, Richard Migliore
5. Greg's Gold (CA), 117, Victor Espinoza
6. Surf Cat (KY), 122, Alex Solis