Opponents Few for Azeri in Clement Hirsch

(from Del Mar notes)
Only two fillies have committed to taking on Horse of the Year Azeri in the upcoming $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar.

Got Koko, trained by Bruce Headley and winner of three straight graded stakes earlier this year, and Angel Gift, trained by Patrick Gallagher, are the early foes, but a field of seven could develop for the Aug. 10 Hirsch.

Azeri, trained by Laura de Seroux for the Allen Paulson Living Trust, will be shooting for her 11th straight victory and 14th overall in 15 lifetime starts. She finished second in the 2002 La Canada Handicap at Santa Anita, her only loss. At present, she is on the same track that carried her to Eclipse honors last year. On her schedule following the Clement Hirsch are possibly the Lady's Secret Handicap and then the Breeders' Cup Distaff, both at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita.

She is expected to have her final work for the Hirsch on Monday at de Seroux's training base at San Luis Rey Downs in nearby Bonsall.

Others that might join the fray are Eclipse de Luna, trained by Bill Spawr; Imperatriz Rafaela from the Richard Mandella barn, who worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:13.80; Sister Girl Blues, trained by Terry Knight, and the J.C. Canani-trained Tropical Blossom.