On Saturday at Del Mar, a jubilant George Paparodromou bounded down the grandstand towards the winner’s circle. It was a destination he had reached 194 times previously in a 20-year training career.
But this time was different. Set to join Papaprodromou for a post-race picture was American Theoremwho just provided the 46-year-old native of Cyprus with his first Grade 1 win in the Bing Crosby.
“It was a great feeling,” Papaprodromou said Horse Racing Nation Wednesday. “I’ve won some Grade 2s and Grade 3s and whatever else, but a Grade 1 is a Grade 1. It’s not easy to get those. So it was great. That’s why we come here every morning and we work, to try and win these kinds of races.”
American Theorem, who before Bing Crosby won his first graded stakes in the Triple Bend (G2) at Santa Anita, was slated to return to the track for a jog on Thursday. The win in the Bing Crosby also provided American Theorem a fees-paid berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland.
Papaprodromou said the 5-year-old ridgling, who is from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, would wheel back in the $250,000 Pat O’Brien (G2) going seven furlongs on Aug. 27.
In addition to American Theorem, Papaprodromou provided the latest on four other notable runners for this HRN Child Tour.
Cabo Spirit. Papaprodromou plans to enter the 3-year-old listed stakes winner in Sunday’s $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar.
Cabo Spirit won the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year and is exiting a close second in the June 4 Cinema Stakes at Santa Anita when rallying late under Joe Bravo.
After the Cinema, the decision was made to geld Cabo Spirit, who had been a ridgling.
“He was like, studious, one of those words,” Papaprodromou explained. “So I thought maybe the inside testicle that was inside his belly was kind of bothering him. He was also kind of a nervous horse and would get a little antsy. I think he’s mellowed out a little bit”
Bravo will be back aboard Cabo Spirit in the La Jolla, which is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Cinema. Papaprodromou was not concerned with the cutback in distance after Cabo Spirit’s rallying finish in the Cinema.
“I don’t think so, he should be OK,” the trainer said.
Spirit of Makena. Bruce Chandler’s 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Ghostzapper debuts in Friday’s eighth race at Del Mar, a straight maiden going 6 1/2-furlongs on dirt. Spirit of Makena has worked seven times since June 9, including twice at Del Mar.
“He’s been training well, but I think he might need a race,” Papaprodromou said.
Spirit of Makena will face nine rivals with Drayden Van Dyke in the irons. He is 15-1 on the morning line.
Lady Clementine. The 3-year-old European import by Churchill showed she is one to watch when earning a smart maiden win under Bravo last Saturday at Del Mar.
Lady Clementine was 0-for-4 while across the pond, all second- and third-place finishes. In her US debut facing 11 rivals going a mile on the grass, she was near the rear of the field after the opening half-mile but uncorked a rally to take the lead by the eighth pole and then win going away at 5-1.
Papaprodromou was duly impressed by the performance from Lady Clementine.
“I like that finish. I don’t want to be crazy, but I’m thinking about going in the Oaks,” he said in reference to the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) on Aug. 20. “Why not?”
Brandon’smylawyer. After the 3-year-old filly by Astern won an allowance going down the hill on May 29 at Santa Anita, which was her first start since last October’s Surfer Girl Stakes, the connections decided to take a shot in the Great Lady M. Stakes (G2) going 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt at Los Alamitos on July 4.
It didn’t turn out well. In the Great Lady M., Brandon’smylawyer dueled with win machine Becca Taylor through an opening half-mile in 44.61 seconds before fading to last. Becca Taylor won by two lengths.
“That was a bad idea,” Papaprodromou said. “But the main thing is she came back good. They went a little too fast, especially for her first time on dirt. There’s an allowance coming up that’s five-eighths (of a mile) on turf, so I’m going to shorten her back up and put her back on the grass.”