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Autrey Has Guns Loaded Ready to Fire in Best Pal

The stable of trainer Cody Autrey got a charge four days into the meeting when its eighth starter, debuting 2-year-old Guns Loaded, fired to the lead early and went on to a 1 ½-length victory.

There have been two more wins and three runner-up finishes from six Autrey starters since then and he has Guns Loaded set to go in Sunday’s $150,000 Grade II Best Pal Stakes.

The Best Pal, a stepping stone to the $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Futurity on closing day, Wednesday, September 4, attracted a field of seven at Thursday’s close of entries and post position draw. Guns Loaded is one of five that oddsmaker Russ Hudak lists as from 5-2 to 9-2 on his morning line.

The field, from the rail out:  Easy Solution (15-1, Patrick Valenzuela), Ontology (Rafael Bejarano, 5-2), Skydreamin (Mike Smith, 3-1), Alpine Luck (Gary Stevens, 3-1), Alberts Hope (Alonso Quinonez, 9-2), Guns Loaded (Joe Talamo, 9-2) and Celtic Moon (Edwin Maldonado, 12-1).

Guns Loaded, a son of D’wildcat, was purchased for $175,000 at a Florida sale after being picked out by Autrey associate Gary Sims. “He (Guns Loaded) has been training forwardly ever since we got him,” the 33-year-old Autrey said. “This is a  step up for him but we’re hoping he can make it.”

Quarantine Area Passes Muster For Euro Imports

Racing secretary Tom Robbins said that an area in Barn Y just east of the grandstand was approved by USDA inspectors on Thursday for use as a quarantine space to house three horses coming in from England for major stakes.

“Now it’s a matter of working out shipping arrangements with the trainers and owners,” Robbins said.

Farraaj, a Group III winner with career earnings of $257,798 for trainer Roger Varian, is being aimed for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 25. Yeager, a winner of two of four starts with the last coming in the Deloitte Handicap Stakes at Ascot, is bound for the $300,000 Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 1. The Gold Cheongsame, a winner of four of 11 starts with earnings of $472,364, is intended for the $150,000 Grade II Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Monday, September 1.

CARMA Continues Mission To Provide For Ex-Racehorses

The concept, which Madeleine Auerbach and some other members of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, embraced several years ago, was not complicated.

“We thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get a pledge of some purse money from the owners, because in the final analysis horses are the owners’ responsibility,” Auerbach recalled. “And we put together a program where owners voluntarily give up a very small percentage of purse money and we put it in trust to give to facilities that house, retrain and give horses an opportunity for life after racing.”

It’s called the California Retirement Management Account or CARMA. Its mission, stated on its website (carma4horses.org) is:   “Dedicated to the goal of providing funding for the rehabilitation, retraining and/or retirement of Thoroughbred horses that have raced in California.”

Funds from the owners’ pledges, from matching funds agreements with Santa Anita and Del Mar, and from events like the annual poker tournament held locally at the start of the Del Mar meeting, are distributed to rescue and rehabilitation facilities that  apply for and meet grant standards.

Among the horses that have been given second careers as hunter/jumpers or comfortable retirements are Sarafan, the 2002 Eddie Read Stakes winner, Liberian Freighter, Booted and Bedark.

“It was a feel-good thing and thank God it has gotten a lot of attention and taken off, because we know we’ve got to take care of these horses,” Auerbach said.

Auerbach, a partner with trainer Barry Abrams and others in the highly successful California stallion Unusual Heat, chairs CARMA. Jennifer Hagan, Marsha Naify, Samantha Siegel and Howard Zucker are officers in the organization which also has a 16-member board of directors.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has pledged to match 50 percent of the money to Carma from purse money during the 2013 meeting and 100 percent in 2014. The poker tournament raises upwards of $50,000 annually, Auerbach said. Individual donations are accepted. For additional information, access the CARMA website.

Trakus Facts For Wednesday And Thursday

Hotradamus saved ground throughout Wednesday’s fifth race while Brave Act was two wide on the first turn and three wide for most of the second turn. Wheeling out off the rail late in the second turn, Hotradamus rolled past Brave Act to win by more than two lengths. Overall, Brave Act covered 39 feet more than Hotradamus, which is approximately worth 4 1/2 lengths. Corey Nakatani, who rode Hotradamus, was shown (in a Trakus study published at FollowHorseRacing.com) to be the most ground-saving jockey at Del Mar over the last three seasons in races at one mile on Polytrack. That efficiency certainly carried over in this turf event.

El Commodore went straight to the front from an inside draw in Thursday’s seventh race with no real challenge supplied by second-home Kid Edward. Planted wide throughout under David Flores, Kid Edward covered 50 feet more than El Commodore, which is roughly equivalent to 5 3/4 lengths. The official margin was 2 1/2.

In Thursday’s third race, debuter Whatsallthedrama ran away from the competition with a final quarter in 24.96 seconds, which was 0.78 seconds faster than the next fastest in the race, second place Vegas Bound.



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