San Diego Handicap (gr. II) Taste of Paradise has certainly proved that patience is a virtue to trainer John Sadler.Sadler was certain the 4-year-old son of Conquistador Cielo, owned by Keith Abrahams and Paul Bloom, possessed the exceptional kind of talent that would make him a stakes winner.But it's not been an easy road for the trainer or the colt. Chronic sore shins compromised Taste of Paradise's skills as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old. But Sadler believes the colt is finally ready to take off. He took his first big step with an upset victory, at 37-1, in the San Diego Aug. 3, and now he's set to again in Monday's $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at a mile."He's a horse that's been a late developer," Sadler said. "We thought he was going to be very good last year and he got hurt (sore shins). He's come back very well this year."He's a very talented horse. We were surprised when he won the other day, but not shocked. Now he's good and strong and we hope he'll be able to show his potential."Being patient with the horse has not been difficult for Sadler, especially since he is "very nice to train," the trainer said. "He's a good work horse. He worked very well before the last race and he's working beautifully for this one. It's a tough race, but he's doing very well and we expect a big effort."Expected to offer plenty of competition is Reba's Gold, a multiple-stakes winner trained by Dan Hendricks. Reba's Gold finished third in the San Diego, but was beaten only a length by Taste of Paradise.High weight in the race and possible morning-line favorite is Captain Squire, a consistent and durable multiple stakes-winning sprinter from the barn of Jeff Mullins. Another multiple stakes winner in the lineup is Grey Memo, winner of last year's San Diego Handicap for veteran trainer Warren Stute.
Joey Franco, winner of Hollywood Park's Triple Bend Handicap before finishing eighth and last in the San Diego, will try the mile, as will erstwhile sprinter Crafty C.T. and Primerica.Congaree was officially declared out of the race by trainer Bob Baffert, who now figures to run the 5-year-old winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup in the Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park Sept. 13.