Twice As Bad Stretches Out for Affirmed 'Cap

(from Hollywood Park report)
Twice as Bad, a 3-year-old gray colt whose West Coast debut in last month's Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs resulted in a resounding three-length victory, will seek his first route win in Hollywood Park's $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) Saturday.

Considering his dominance in the Barrera, Twice as Bad likely will be a slight favorite to successfully carry high weight of 121 pounds against nine other 3-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile event that serves as a prelude to the July 10 Swaps Stakes (gr. II).

"He's given me the indication that he'll go 1 1/2 miles," trainer Vladimir Cerin said after the Florida-bred son of Stormy Atlantic  blistered seven furlongs in 1:21.57 in winning the Barrera after sitting just off a swift pace.

Corey Nakatani, who was scheduled to ride Twice as Bad in the Barrera but yielded to Alex Solis after being bothered by back spasms, will be back aboard. Solis moves to Cheiron, winner of the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes and the field's second high weight at 120 pounds.

Before being transferred to the West Coast and trainer Cerin, Twice as Bad had raced in Florida with modest success. In his last start at Calder Race Course in the $100,000 What A Pleasure Stakes last Dec. 13, he finished second to Second of June over 1 1/16 miles. His Barrera victory brought his career earnings to $196,280 with an overall record of 3-3-1 in 13 starts for Mercedes Stables.

"Wow, this is a very special horse," exclaimed Solis after the Barrera triumph. "At the three-eighths pole, this horse was dragging me. I really wasn't moving on him, and I just hand rode him down the stretch."

Solis will know the quality of his opponent when he climbs aboard Cheiron for trainer Kristin Mulhall on Saturday. Cheiron, too, was impressive when scoring for Solis in the Snow Chief by 1 1/2 lengths, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.78.

"He's a very brave horse," Solis said after Cheiron squeezed through an opening in midstretch to seal his victory. Owned by a partnership, the gray California-bred has earned $305,880 with a 3-3-0 mark in 9 starts.

$100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Capitano, Victor Espinoza, 118
2. Twice as Bad, Corey Nakatani, 121
3. Hippocrates, Mike Smith, 114
4. Lindero, Martin Pedroza, 114
5. Cheiron, Alex Solis, 120
6. Coldtight, David Flores, 113
7. Wimplestiltskin, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116
8. Boomzeeboom, no rider, 115
9. Vencer, Tyler Baze, 113
10. O.K. Mikie, Javier Santiago, 115