Bettors Ignore Don'tsellmeshort at Peril

Bettors would have done well to heed the aptly-suggestive Don'tsellmeshort's name after the Dan Hendrick-trained 2-year-old colt took the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes at odds of 13-1 at Santa Anita Friday.

Ridden by Alex Solis, the grey/roan by Benchmark, carrying top weight of 123 pounds, took command in upper stretch and pulled away to a 1 /2-length triumph over Badgett's Mandate. The seven-furlong time on a fast track was 1:25.

Watch Over Me was third, 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner, while 13-10 favorite Race for Glory finished ninth in the 10-horse field of California breds, tiring in mid-stretch after pulling early.

Don'tsellmeshort, third into the turn, stalked pacesetting P Town John through fractions of :22 1/5 and :45 1/5 before turning up the pressure, pulling away to a safe lead in the stretch and maintaining it while urged on by Solis.

"Dan (Hendricks) told me today to make sure he settled a little bit the first part," Solis said. "That's what he wanted to do and it worked out perfect. We got a great trip really. We were right behind where we wanted to (be) and when I called on him in the stretch he came on strong."

Don'tsellmeshort was favored in his last start, the California Cup Juvenile, but was third by 4 1/2 lengths after breaking from an inside post in his first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.

"The Cal Cup just didn't work out with the one hole," Hendricks said. "It closed in on him when he went into the first turn and he still was able to run third when in everyone's eyes he was a pure sprinter. So if you really look at that race, it was a great race and a horse came from out of the clouds and beat him. I think today he proved he's the best Cal-bred and the early favorite for the Sunshine Millions ($250,000 Dash at six furlongs at Santa Anita on Jan. 24). That's been our plan since early on."

A $75,000 Barretts' May purchase, the winner earned $75,000 for owner Cecil N. Peacock. He improved to 4-2-1 in eight starts with purses of $294,395 in 2003.

Don'tsellmeshort paid $28.80, $11.80 and $6.20. Badgett's Mandate returned $20.60 and $9. Watch over Me's show was $4.60. The $2 exacta was worth $625.40.

(Chart, Equibase)