Special Matter Tries to Repeat in Burke 'Cap

Special Matter returns to defend his 2002 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT) victory against nine rivals at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet Friday, facing a field that includes multiple graded stakes winner Senor Swinger.

The $125,000 12-furlong grass feature helps kick off Breeders' Cup weekend at Santa Anita.

George and Janice McClintock's Special Matter returns to the Burke following a 1 1/4-mile optional alllowance claiming victory Oct. 8 at Santa Anita, the only win in seven starts this year for the 5-year-old gelding. He won last year's Burke by 1 3/4 length over Alyzig.

Tyler Baze, who rode Special Matter in last year's Burke for trainer Rafael Becerra, has the mount once again.

Bob and Beverly Lewis' 3-year-old Senor Swinger was most recently fourth in the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) on Sept. 6. Fifth in the Preakness (gr. I) May 17, Senor Swinger's last win came in the Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) on June 7. Jerry Bailey has the ride on the son of El Prado.

Bob Baffert, who trains Senor Swinger, also conditions grade III winner Mountain Rage, a 4-year-old son of Mecke making his first start at Friday's 1 1/2-mile distance. Mountain Rage is winless in two starts in 2003.

Continental Red, a 7-year-old grade II winner, is also in the Burke field.

$125,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3 & up, 1 1/2 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Wgt., Jockey
1. Runaway Dancer, 112, Mike Smith
2. Staging Post, 114, Pat Valenzuela
3. Researched, 116, Kieren Fallon
4. Senor Swinger, 113, Jerry Bailey
5. Continuously, 114, Jose Valdivia Jr.
6. Epicentre, 112, Edgar Prado
7. Continental Red, 116, Julie Krone
8. Mountain Rage, 113, Gary Stevens
9. Special Matter, 115, Tyler Baze
10. Labirinto, 115, Eric Saint-Martin