Del Mar Race Report: Hope Springs Forth (Cont.)

Continued from part 1


While El Corredor was stretched to the limit on Sept. 2, Tranquility Lake hardly broke a sweat the day before, winning the $150,000 Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) for the second straight year.

Fresh from an encouraging run over the dirt, the 6-year-old Rahy mare simply did her thing in the 1 1/16-mile Palomar, clicking off metronomic quarters of :24.28 and :24.61. It was an internal :47.01 half, however, that put Tranquility Lake in clear command by mid-stretch. La Ronge, herself a daughter of Rahy, and Al Desima both came at her late, but there was never a doubt. At the end, the margin was a length. And she makes it all look so easy. Of course, it doesn't hurt having a Hall of Famer aboard.

"I just kind of let her dictate her own racing," said Eddie Delahoussaye, the soothing touch in the saddle. "You have to work with her. Can't work against her, that's the best way to put it. When she's on her game, she's as good a grass horse as any."

Owned by Pam and Marty Wygod and trained by Julio Canani, Tranquility Lake will be in the thick of the World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 27. Whether she'll end up in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) or the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) is still up in the air.


Eduardo Inda stood outside stall 76, weighing the merits of a blossoming star against a champion of a year ago.

"Body-wise, she's very close to Riboletta," the trainer noted, gazing in at young Tamara Princess. "Big head, big shoulders. Different color, but the body is very close. Riboletta was a little hyper, but she got to the point finally the last part where she was very good. This filly, she got here a little earlier, so she almost got broke here, more than anything. She's very classy."

As Riboletta's little sister, expectations have been lofty for Tamara Princess from the moment she settled into Inda's barn last summer. So far, the Brazilian filly has done nothing to sully the optimism. Still two weeks shy of her third birthday when she won her sprint debut in July, Tamara Princess drew even more raves a month later, taking a one-mile optional claimer with aplomb.

Her latest gem came in the $81,400 Torrey Pines Stakes at a mile on Aug. 31. Eager, but cool and professional to the core, the daughter of Roi Normand waited until the far turn before ending any suspense, cruising past Notable Career en route and galloping home undisturbed to beat Cindy's Hero by two lengths. Now three-for-three, Tamara Princess is owned by Aaron and Marie Jones. At this point, the sky may be her only limit.

Leading up to the $71,150 Pirate's Bounty Handicap on Sept. 1, the jet-packed Freespool turned in a well-spaced string of drills that looked like this: :33, :45, :45, :33 1/5, :45 1/5, :33. They were all bullets.

"Believe it or not," confessed trainer Ted H. West, "all those works you're seeing in the Form is us working him as slow as possible. We've been trying to slow him down for three years. I can't get him to work slower than :46 flat. He's a really strange horse in that he's got just one speed, and that's full speed."

On the West Coast, you won't find a quicker horse. His single-minded style, however, has given way to odd inconsistency, and on a number of occasions West was left watching a race too bad to be true. But there may be a solution.

Sweeping into the six-furlong Pirate's Bounty off a three-month break, Freespool simply left 'em all gasping with a :43.61 half. Owned by Scott Guenther's Desperado Stables, the 5-year-old son of Geiger Counter couldn't be touched, scoring by three in 1:08.87. Time, it turns out, could be his key.

"He puts so much into his training and his races that he empties the tank, I think," said West, adding that Freespool is due for another brief layoff. "I think his race yesterday was the best race of his life."