Chilean-bred veteran Total Impact took a quick cross-country flight from his Southern California base to Churchill Downs on Tuesday for a run in Friday's $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.That trip should take nothing out of Mohammed Saud Al Kabeer and Bridport, S.A.'s 7-year-old son of Stuka who is 8-1 on the Clark morning line. Trainer Laura De Seroux said her veteran star is fresh and ready to tackle the likes of Perfect Drift and Suave in the 1 1/8-mile Clark.That might not have been the case earlier this year for Total Impact, who enjoyed a 2004 season that included a victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and ended with a late November trip to Tokyo for the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I), where he finished a good fourth. De Seroux saddled her veteran for a couple of starts early in the year at Santa Anita, where he ran second to Congrats in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) and a dull fifth to Lundy's Liability in the San Antonio (gr. II) in early February. After the latter, De Seroux decided it was time for Total Impact to go on vacation."He had a 13-month span where he ran every month and I shouldn't have run him after we came back from Japan, but I misinterpreted the signs," she said. "I just decided to give him some time off, some much deserved time off."Total Impact rallied to score a narrow victory in the one-mile Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar in his first race after returning from vacation. He then finished fourth, beaten 10 lengths by Rock Hard Ten, in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Oct. 10."I just gave him three months off and let him tell me when he was ready," said De Seroux. "He's as good as he's ever been right now."De Seroux had the Clark and Hollywood Park's $100,000-added Native Diver (gr. III) as possible options for Total Impact. But she sais she plans run Trotamondo, a Chilean import and grade I winner in his home country, in the latter and the Clark seemed the best choice for her veteran star.
"It's a prestigious race and the purse is good," she said. "Timing-wise, from our last race, it's perfect for us."Although the Clark will be only the fifth start of the year for Total Impact, De Seroux said the question of whether he would race next year would not be answered until after Friday's race. Red-hot jockey Garrett Gomez will ride Total Impact, who has career record of 6-9-2 in 26 races and has earned $1,694,663.