Continued from part 1HOME, SWEET HOME
Paco Gonzalez stood in the summer sun, a four-legged bundle of dynamite at his hands.
"Be careful, be careful. Don't trust him," he warned a visitor as the colt whirled around in a flash. "Cause he jumps."
And he runs -- faaaaast. Meet Came Home. The 2-year-old son of Gone West made it look easy again on Swaps day, airing by four lengths in the $107,400 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) at six furlongs.
Came Home was all the rage when he scored by eight in his debut in early June, handling a subpar start with aplomb and leaving the rest behind like he'd been doing it for years. That aptitude is simply a common thread woven through the generations, according to Gonzalez, who trained the colt's dam, Nice Assay, as well as his half-sister, the lightning-quick A. P. Assay.
"They're all business," he said, watching Came Home graze. "They run one race, and it's like a horse that has already run 10 times. They mature right away."
Came Home drew the rail in the Hollywood Juvenile, prompting Chris McCarron to send him early to avoid getting trapped at money time. The others didn't have much of a chance after that. Kentucky invader Tim's Talent hung tough for about three furlongs, and even Metatron, sent south by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, took a stifled shot on the turn. Came Home simply cornered and dropped his head -- Kona Gold-style -- and darted clear. McCarron was motionless as Came Home cantered past the finish in 1:09.20, with his five opponents strung out like chewed gum behind him.
Bred and owned by Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan, Came Home will pop up next in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) on Sept. 5. In the meantime, Gonzalez will have his hands full keeping the rowdy colt rounded.
But at least there's one thing they do know they can count on.
"All this guy wants to do is run," grinned Toffan. "That's the kind you want."
Came Home's walk in the park was the antithesis of the $200,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), where Fog City Stable's Blueprint needed every inch of the stretch to beat out Kudos and Northern Quest.
A 6-year-old son of Generous bred in Ireland by Queen Elizabeth II, Blueprint has quietly built a reputation as the best grass horse in California not named Bienamado. He just isn't around frequently enough for anyone to really notice. But it's all part of the plan, according to trainer Bob Hess Jr., who acknowledges the more time between starts the better Blueprint performs.
It certainly rang true in the 1 1/2-mile Sunset. Last seen in April's San Juan Capistrano (gr. IT), Blueprint went after the red-hot Kudos leaving the backstretch. Northern Quest and new shooter Loving soon joined in from the outside, and with a furlong to go, it was anybody's guess. Blueprint simply outran them all. Under Stevens, he was up by a half-length in 2:26.16. Kudos held second by a neck over Northern Quest.Tiznow's Back
After weeks of speculation concerning his future on the track, Tiznow gave his legion of fans reason to dream on July 13. With regular rider Chris McCarron aboard, the son of Cee's Tizzy turned in a chipper three-eighths in :36 2/5 at Santa Anita. It was Tiznow's first work in over three months, coming after weeks of constant back trouble. It was also a sigh of relief for the colt's trainer, Jay Robbins.
"Well, it's one little hurdle we're over, anyway," Robbins said the next day, adding that another element of Tiznow's morning spin was especially encouraging. "The warm-up, the part where he jogged off before he worked, that was better than I anticipated because he looked absolutely normal. He could have done a lot more."
Robbins also mentioned that the reigning Horse of the Year "looks a little light weight-wise," the result of steady jogging and galloping in recent weeks, but that his level of fitness is quite high. Consequently, the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), run at a mile on Sept. 2, has been penciled in as the first target