Azeri expects to face small field in Clement L. Hirsch Handicap.

Azeri expects to face small field in Clement L. Hirsch Handicap.

Associated Press

Azeri in Final Work for Hirsch; Small Field Expected

Edited from track reports
In a work her trainer said she can set her stopwatch by, Horse of the Year Azeri clicked off a half-mile in 47 2/5 seconds Monday morning at San Luis Rey Downs in her final serious work for Sunday's grade II, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar.

Trainer Laura de Seroux relished the telling of it, expanding on the work by saying that the 5-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter galloped out five furlongs in 59 4/5, six in 1:12 3/5 and seven in 1:26.

"She was perfect," de Seroux said. Brian Eide, her normal work rider, was in the saddle.

Weights were announced about noon on Monday and Azeri is assigned 127 pounds as the high weight. She'll spot her rivals from nine to 19 pounds.

Got Koko, the Bruce Headley trainee who swept Santa Anita's three-race La Canada series for 4-year-old fillies, is weighted at 118. The two others committed to the race are Angel Gift, who will carry 112, and Tropical Blossom, assigned low weight of 108. The other prospect among those nominated is Sister Girl Blues, who will carry 109 pounds.

Azeri will ship the 30 or so miles to Del Mar on Thursday from her San Luis Rey Downs base in Bonsall. She'll school in the paddock on Thursday afternoon and again on Saturday before tackling a small field in the 1 1/16-mile Hirsch on Del Mar's main track.

The list of those committed to contest Azeri grew by one Monday morning when trainer Julio Canani confirmed that Tropical Blossom, who finished fourth to Azeri in Hollywood Park's Grade I Vanity Handicap, would be in the field for owners Mr. and Mrs. Martin J. Wygod. Julie Krone has the call to ride.

That runs the prospective starting list to four, with Got Koko and Angel Gift being committed earlier. Got Koko is owned by Aase Headley and Paul Leung and trained by Bruce Headley, and Angel Gift is owned by Delahoussaye Enterprises, Richard Strauss and Ward Williford.