Cassidy has Spy Ring, Prime Attraction in Sunday stakes at Del Mar
July 22, 2017 11:24am
Jim Cassidy_615x400
Photo: Benoit Photo

Trainer Jim Cassidy has won the San Clemente Handicap four times. First with Katdogawn in 2003, then with Passified (2007), Evening Jewel (2010) and most recently with Prize Exhibit (2015).

The Grade II $200,000 Turf Mile for 3-year-old fillies is the one that pops up the most on the list of 15 stakes victories for the 71-year-old New York native and unrepentant Yankees fan. But when asked about taking a fifth San Clemente on Sunday with Spy Ring, Cassidy does the racetrack version of pleading the Fifth Amendment.

“It’s a tough race,” Cassidy said.

Because of (undefeated) Sircat Sally?

“Exactly. She hasn’t done anything wrong yet.”

Bred in Ireland, Spy Ring made her first five career starts, beginning in May of last year, in her native land and a sixth in England before coming to the U.S. to be conditioned by Cassidy for his major client Deron Pearson of DP Racing.

Campaigned in sprints overseas, Spy Ring made her U.S. debut at 6 ½ furlongs down the Santa Anita hillside turf course in April and lost by a head to San Clemente rival Storm the Hill. Moved up to the Grade III Senorita at a mile in May, she was fourth, beaten two lengths, as Sircat Sally notched the sixth of her now seven straight wins.

“We’ll see if she (Spy Ring) will get the mile, that’s the only question I have with her,” Cassidy said. “She’s run some really good races.

“ I had her in a really good spot in a race before we left Santa Anita and they went up the hill (to the 6 ½-furlong turf race starting gate) and she bucked (Rafael) Bejarano off and got loose.”

Speculation afterward was that Spy Ring had been spooked by some noise emanating from a nearby equipment yard.

“So that’s the adventures with her,” Cassidy said.

A plan to run Spy Ring in an allowance here on Opening Day fell through when the race wasn’t used, so Cassidy opted for the San Clemente and the difficult task of taking on Sircat Sally.

“I’d like to get some stakes credentials and go from there, she’s a nice filly,” Cassidy said.

The field, from the rail: Noted and Quoted (Martin Garcia, 8-1), Storm the Hill (Kent Desormeaux, 12-1), Lull (Brian Hernandez, Jr., 7-2), Enthrall (Rafael Bejarano, 5-1), Kenda (Tyler Baze, 15-1), Spy Ring (Victor Espinoza, 12-1), Sircat Sally (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-5) and Blame It On Alphie (Flavien Prat, 6-1).

Cassidy will also run Prime Attraction, a 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song also owned by D P Racing in the $75,000 Wickerr Stakes, a mile turf test that goes as the third race.

Prime Attraction broke his maiden here last November in his second career start, going a mile on the main track. Wins in February and March prompted a move up to the stakes level where he finished last of five in the Grade II Californian in April and last of seven in the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita.

Prime Attraction’s best efforts at lower levels had come from close to or on the pace. Counter to plans, he was in a similar early position in both stakes efforts and faded in the late going.

“He’s a good colt when properly ridden,” Cassidy said. “He’s been training well, so we’ll give it a try.”

The Wickerr field from the rail: Street Lad (Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1), Perfectly Majestic (Kent Desormeaux, 3-1), Prime Attraction (Victor Espinoza, 10-1), Dalmore (Corey Nakatani, 10-1), Calculator (Rafael Bejarano, 7-2), Blackjackcat (Gary Stevens, 5-1) and Vyjack (Flavien Prat, 8-5)."

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club


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