Horses

Ready Set wins in West Virginia

CHESTER, W.Va. — Ready Set withstood a charging Web Gem and a claim of foul to win the $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Saturday.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Ready Set covered the 11⁄8-mile course at the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in 1:52.03.

Web Gem's jockey, Jorge Chavez, alleged interference on the part of Ready Set with 3½ furlongs remaining, but the claim was rejected.

Owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stables and trained by Michael Matz, Ready Set paid $11.20, $5.80 and $5.20. Web Gem paid $17.80 and $11.40, and third place Real Appeal paid $14.20.

Recapturetheglory, the fifth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby who went off second choice at 5-2, led early before fading badly midway through the race to finish ninth in the 11-horse field.

Kentucky Derby also-ran Z Fortune finished eighth.

Indian Blessing by seven

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Heavily favored Indian Blessing left five other 3-year-old fillies at the quarter pole and drew away to a 7-length victory in the $250,000 Test Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

The champion 2-year-old female of 2007 was rated in the early stages by a patient John Velazquez, who allowed Palanka City and JZ Warrior to set the pace before taking control with a quarter-mile to run. Indian Blessing opened a clear lead within a few strides and was at the wire after 7 furlongs in 1:22.70. Sweet Hope finished second.

The Test, the most prestigious race run at Saratoga for 3-year-old female sprinters, was Indian Blessing's fourth victory in six starts this season and the seventh of her nine-race career. It was also her fourth victory in Grade I stakes.

Indian Blessing, who is trained by Bob Baffert for owners Hal and Patti Earnhardt, paid $2.80 and earned $150,000 to push her career earnings past the $2 million mark.

Zenyatta sets track record

DEL MAR, Calif. — Zenyatta defeated Model by a length to win Saturday's $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith and carrying high weight of 124 pounds, Zenyatta covered 11⁄16 miles in 1:41.48, a record on the track's synthetic Polytrack surface.

The old mark of 1:41.57 was set by Well Armed in the San Diego Handicap on July 19.

”I know she set a track record here, but if I'd have let her go, no telling what she might have done,“ Smith said. ”She was just galloping.“

■ Bold Chieftain won the $125,000 California Dreamin' Handicap by 1¼ lengths over Comoros. Ridden by Russell Baze, Bold Chieftain covered 11⁄16 miles on the turf in 1:40.23. Epic Power was third.

Del Mar cuts purses

DEL MAR, Calif. — Del Mar will reduce purses by 3.5 percent, the first reduction in more than 30 years.

The cuts, which begin Aug. 13, will amount to about $10,000 per day, according to Michael Ernst, the seaside track's chief operating officer.

The reductions were triggered by a downturn in on-track handle and a slowdown in account wagering business, he said Friday.

An experiment in account wagering that benefited Santa Anita and Hollywood Park wasn't extended to Del Mar after an agreement couldn't be reached.

”Had we got that accomplished,“ Ernst said, ”we would not be having this conversation.“

The reductions include a $50,000 cut for both the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 16 and the Grade II Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31. Purses for those races will now be $350,000.

Also being slashed by $25,000 are the Solana Beach Handicap on Aug. 17, the El Cajon Stakes on Aug. 29, and the Torrey Pines Stakes on Aug. 31, leaving those three races worth $100,000 each.

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