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Claimer Wild Buddy Takes Swing in Oak Tree Mile

October 6, 2005
Blood Horse
Trainer Steve Knapp was minding his own business at Del Mar one day when he looked up and saw a horse he liked. After $85,000 was spent for the claiming horse, he had a new runner in his barn.

Knapp thinks it's the most he ever claimed a horse for. That horse, Wild Buddy, can make a big return on the investment when he seeks his first stakes victory in Saturday's Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT). Tyler Baze drew the return riding engagement in his first day back to action in a week.

Baze failed a Breathalyzer test Saturday at Hoosier Park where he was scheduled to ride Southern Africa in the Indiana Derby (gr. II) and was suspended for seven days

Defending NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) champion Singletary tightens up against a small field Saturday in the Oak Tree Breeders Cup Mile, preparing for a repeat effort in the World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park Oct. 29. Just six were entered.

Wild Buddy was third, beaten only a half-length after leading into the stretch, in his first start since the claim, in the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on Sept. 4.

"I saw him work down the lane at Del Mar," Knapp said of the 6-year-old gelded son of Line In The Sand. "He was right in front of me while I was walking some of my horses, and the horse worked beautifully. Then I saw he was in for $85,000 and that's when I claimed him (Aug. 12). He's a consistent horse, he's got 44 starts and 11 wins. He's a solid racehorse. I believe it's the most I've ever claimed a horse for."

Knapp took the Florida-bred for Mike Miller, a Maryland resident who owns a road paving company in Maryland.

"I met him at the track one day," Knapp said. "Just ended up talking to him, and he decided he wanted to claim a couple horses. We talked for about 20 minutes, he called me the next day and wired me $80,000 and that's how we started out."

Knapp has 15 horses for Miller and has been training for him for two years.

Wild Buddy has an 11-8-6 record with earnings of $351,235.

We All Love Aleyna, who lost the Del Mar Breeders' Cup by a nose to odds-on favorite Three Valleys, returns with Garrett Gomez taking over the riding assignment.

Also in the field is the 8-year-old gelding Designed for Luck, a grade I winner who took this race in 2003. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, Designed for Luck has not raced since May 31, 2004, when he won the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park.

Designed for Luck had an ankle injury and needed ample time off to fully recover, according to Cerin.

The filly Musical Chimes won the Oak Tree Mile last year by a nose over Buckland Manor, with Singletary third.

$250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT, Race 7), 3 & up (turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. We All Love Aleyna (FL), Garrett Gomez
2. Wild Buddy (FL), Tyler Baze
3. Singletary (KY), David Flores
4. Designed for Luck (KY), Victor Espinoza
5. Buckland Manor (KY), 119, Kent Desormeaux
6. King of Happiness (KY), Corey Nakatani
All assigned 119 pounds.

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