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He's Not Grey Debuts a Winner in Emerald Downs Express

By Mary Rampellini
He’s Not Grey made his career debut a memorable one on Sunday, when he came rolling through the stretch for a 3 1/2-length win over Bullet Drill in the $50,000 Emerald Downs Express. The race was one of two stakes for 2-year-olds on the card. Bella Mia wired her rivals in the $50,000 Angie C.

Both of the stakes were run over 5 1/2 furlongs.

He’s Not Grey ($24.80) was content to stalk the pace set by Elliott Bay, who ran the opening quarter in 22.25 seconds while under pressure from Brown Tiger. He’s Not Grey advanced on the turn, came four wide into the stretch, and rolled past the leaders in the lane. He covered the distance on a fast track in 1:05.04.

“He’s been the talk of the barn, how good he’s been doing,” said winning owner John Parker. “He showed he can run.”

Juan Gutierrez was aboard He’s Not Grey for trainer Candi Tollett. The winner is a son of Slew’s Tiznow and for his effort Sunday he earned $27,225. He’s Not Grey was bred in California by Eagle Ridge Racing and Rancho San Miguel.


Clay is the Rancho San Miguel Potter
California Thoroughbred Breeders Association member Clay Murdock has come a long way since his days as a jockey in the bush-league racetracks of Idaho. He recently celebrated 30 years at Rancho San Miguel, where he is the general manager. A knowledgeable and dedicated horseman, Murdock is in charge of more than 400 Thoroughbreds and has proved himself exceedingly capable.

When he was just 12 years old, Murdock learned how to exercise his father’s racehorses, joking that he was riding “in the bushes of the bush.” Although his father had a “real” job, father and son spent weekends racing Quarter Horses and a few Thoroughbreds in Idaho and Montana. Murdock was riding races as soon as he turned 16, and eventually he started training horses in his early 20s.

“I had a desire to come to California,” Murdock recalled.

(Clay) built the infrastructure, recruited and developed the most professional and knowledgeable staff he could assemble and has worked diligently every day to build a reputation beyond reproach for the farm.”
— Tom Clark, owner Rancho San Miguel

He took a job galloping horses at Bay Meadows to get started in the Golden State, then was offered a position by Quarter Horse trainer Russell Harris to head up a breaking and training facility in Southern California.

“I bounced around for six or seven years,” Murdock said. “I was breaking 70 or 80 head of Quarter Horses when Dr. William Marano was looking for someone to run a Thoroughbred farm. There were only 15 or 20 head, so it looked like a drop down. But I really wanted to move on with Thoroughbreds.”

That farm was Rancho San Miguel, a breaking and training facility with just one stallion, and in 1987, Murdock began managing it. When Tom and Nancy Clark bought the farm in 2000, they put their emphasis on breeding by expanding the property, adding a stallion barn, and recruiting new studs while phasing out the majority of the training.

Three generations of the Murdock clan: patriarch Cal Murdock with son Clay, holding his grandson Kenton

“Nancy and I bought the farm because we had complete confidence in Clay’s ability to manage the operation,” said Tom Clark. “He has proved that our faith in him was well founded. Clay led the difficult transition of Rancho San Miguel from a training facility to now one of the leading breeding operations in the state. He did this at a very difficult and challenging time for the Thoroughbred industry in California. He built the infrastructure, recruited and developed the most professional and knowledgeable staff he could assemble, and has worked diligently every day to build a reputation beyond reproach for the farm.”

With hundreds of horses on the property, Murdock finds his days busy.

“My routine is to check the foaling barn first, looking at how those that foaled are doing, and notify owners of foals being born,” he said. “I check in with Dr. Stacy Potter, our resident veterinarian, as she and the techs go around the farm. I palpate and check some mares myself, and by mid-morning I’m updating clients on their mares’ status. I sell stallion seasons, promote the stallions, look up mares and their breeding nicks, and certain nights I help with the foal watch.”

Of Murdock’s numerous duties, Clark said, “Clay possesses the leadership skills and management acumen to run the complex nature of a large breeding farm, and he is a horseman of the highest regard. His primary focus every day is to make sure the horses are given the very best care and attention humanly possible and that our clients receive the best service.”

Murdock lives on the property with his wife; together they have raised five children on the farm. He has two daughters, ages 12 and 14, who are still there, while two sons and a third daughter have grown up and moved on.

“My oldest daughter was just a year old when I first came to the farm,” Murdock said.

Clay Murdock, blue shirt center, is honored for his 30 years’ service at Tom and Nancy Clark’s Rancho San Miguel

Although he has handled thousands of horses in his life, Murdock was most fond of Sudden Hush. Te California-bred won the Graduation Stakes and was second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in 1992.

“He was a neat horse during his breaking and training days, and a horse that I really liked,” Murdock said. “I used to enjoy watching the horses I trained run, but now in a general sense I enjoy watching our foals develop and tracking our stallion’s progeny.”

Murdock cited the 2017 El Camino Real Derby (G3) as an example. Slew’s Tiznow, who stands at Rancho San Miguel, had his offspring run first and second in the race, with Zakarof scoring by a half-length and More Power to Him getting moved up to second via the disqualification of Ann Arbor Eddie.

“Those two were in pastures together when they were young, so it was neat to see them in a graded stakes,” said Murdock. “When it’s ones you’ve raised, it’s special.”

One of Murdock’s tasks is to show the farm’s 11 stallions to clients and prospective breeders.

“I think we have a very strong roster,” he said. “We have a lot of variety, and a lot of pedigrees that cross well with different mares.”

At the top of the roster are grade 1 winner Haynesfeld and near-millionaire Comic Strip, both standing for $5,000. The royally bred stallions Curlin to Mischief, a half brother to Beholder and Into Mischief; and U.S. Ranger, by Danzig out of a Red Ransom mare, command fees of $3,500 and $3,000, respectively. Slew’s Tiznow, a full brother to graded stakes winner Slew’s Tizzy, is $2,500. Marino Marini, Southern Image, Northern Causeway, Rousing Sermon, Typhoon Slew, and The Pamplemousse round out the roster.

“It’s a versatile group of turf horses and dirt, sprinters, middle, and long distance,” Murdock said. “Anything you need, we have here.”

Murdock’s long history of horsemanship has not gone unnoticed.

“Clay has dedicated 30 years of his life to Rancho San Miguel,” Clark said. “He has accomplished so much during this time. Nancy and I are blessed to have had the opportunity to know and work with him so closely. Clay is not only the manager of our farm, but we consider him one of our closest friends.”

Velazquez's Timing Gives Hay Dakota Mystic Lake Win

By Marcus Hersh
Haynesfield son Hay Dakota dropped too far behind a slow pace last summer at Canterbury Park in the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, his strong rally falling a neck short of victory. But his rider Sunday in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile, Denny Velazquez, timed things better and Hay Dakota won an exciting edition of the one-mile grass race by a neck.

Coady Photography

Hay Dakota’s trainer, Joel Berndt, also timed things well. He brought Hay Dakota back from a four-month break May 27 in a Canterbury allowance prep for Sunday’s race. Hay Dakota finished third, but got just what he needed to move forward into the Mystic Lake Mile.

Way Striking, coming off a good dirt-stakes win at Prairie Meadows, went to the front Sunday and set up shop on a clear lead while running his first quarter-mile in 24.08 seconds and a half in 48.03. Majestic Pride to the outside and One Mean Man to the inside crept into contention around the far turn, and by then Velazquez had gotten Hay Dakota out of sixth and into a golden spot just behind the leaders.

“When I saw the three of them were battling, I thought I’d wait to make my move,” Velazquez said.

Hay Dakota pounced at the top of the stretch and appeared to be on his way to a decisive victory, but Majestic Pride, racing between horses, stayed on gamely, as did Way Striking, who was ever so slightly gaining again in the final yards. One Mean Man, the 2-1 favorite, couldn’t finish with the top three and was fourth, 1 1/2 lengths out of third. Hootenanny, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, was an early scratch.

Hay Dakota ran one mile on a course officially rated good in1:35.37 and paid $15.80 to win.

Alice Mettler owns Hay Dakota, a 4-year-old by Haynesfield out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Churchill By the Sea, he has earned of $216,580. Berndt said last summer he remembered Chicago-based jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. telling him following a dirt breeze at Hawthorne several months before Hay Dakota even tried turf that Berndt and Mettler had a grass horse on their hands. After four dirt losses to start his career, Hay Dakota’s connections risked him for a $20,000 maiden-claiming tag in his Canterbury and turf debut.

Hay Dakota wasn’t taken, and by the end of 2016 he had become a graded-stakes winner after upsetting the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes last fall at Churchill.

“It’s very rewarding,” Berndt said. “He had some gate issues; that’s why we ran him for the $20,000.”

Hay Dakota won’t be running for a claiming tag anytime soon.

Haynesfield Daughter 'Profound Moment' Dominates $50,000 Washington State Legislators S.

AUBURN, Wash. (June 17, 2017) – Rising star Profound Moment won a race-long battle with Citizen Kitty and edged clear for a two-length victory in the $50,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes for older fillies and mares Saturday at Emerald Downs.

Ridden by Javier Matias at 119 lbs, Profound Moment zipped 6 furlongs in 1:14.90 and paid $6, $3 and $2.60. Mike Puhich is the winning trainer for co-owners Dr. Mark Dedomenico of Redmond and Mike Waters of Seattle.

For Waters, last year’s co-leading owner at Emerald Downs, it was his first stakes win, and interviewed in the winner’s circle said, “This is awesome. I’m speechless.”

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Haynesfield, Profound Moment began her career at Emerald Downs with a 13-length maiden win last year. She shipped to the Midwest this year and scored a pair of six-furlong allowance wins at Oaklawn Park before finishing fifth in a mile and one-sixteenth allowance at Churchill Downs last month.

“(Trainer) Jack Van Berg did a great job with her all year long and she came back to Washington in great shape,” Puhich said. “And I want to say it’s great that Mike Waters got his first stakes win.”

Profound Moment earned $27,500 for the victory to push her career bankroll to $110,826. She has a 4-3-0-0 record in seven lifetime starts.

Citizen Kitty, the 8-to-5 betting favorite ridden by Eswan Flores at high weight of 123 lbs, ran gamely to finish second and paid $3.20 and $2.40.

Winner of the Hastings Stakes last month, Citizen Kitty, with intense pressure from Profound Moment, led through fractions of :22.82 for the quarter-mile and :45.21 for the half. Profound Moment attacked from the outside, and the two raced head-and-head to mid stretch when Profound Moment finally got the better of Citizen Kitty and edged away for the victory.

U S Officer is Saluted as Winner of the $50,000 Ragin Cajun S

OPELOUSAS, LA (April 15, 2017)–U S Officer has faced some tough competition in his past, with two of his losses coming to 2017 Louisiana Derby winner, Girvin, and 2017 Arkansas Derby winner, Classic Empire, and in the $50,000 Ragin Cajun at Evangeline Downs on Saturday, the colt wasn’t even the betting favorite. However, that didn’t matter as he scored a victory as the 2-1 second choice in a field of four, covering the seven furlongs in 1:24.54 over a fast track.

The betting favorite in the Ragin Cajun was Laughingsaintssong, who was sent off at odds of 3-5. He ended up dueling throughout the early stages of the race with Jilotepec. That pair set solid fractions of 22.56 seconds for the quarter-mile and 45.11 for the half-mile. U S Officer tracked that twosome under rider Diego Saenz before making a strong three-wide move to take the lead as the field came to the final furlong. From there, U S Officer was able to move away to win by 1-1/4 lengths, with Laughingsaintssong outlasting Jilotepec by a head for second. Maiden Classic Brahms finished last in the field of four.

U S Officer was bred in Kentucky by part-owner, Jerry Durant. Durant is co-owner of the bay colt with Bill Jordan and Danny Pish is the trainer. U S Officer is by U S Ranger and out of the Officer mare, Lacey Officer. He has now won four of his nine lifetime starts. Two of those wins are stakes, as U S Officer also took the $100,000 Clever Trevor at Remington Park last November. The $30,000 first-place purse increases his lifetime earnings to $166,565.

U S Officer paid $6.80 to win and $2.20 to place. Laughingsaintssong returned $2.10 to place. There was no show wagering with the field being scratched down to four horses.

Southern Image Colt Takes Santa Anita Allowance Event

Arcadia, CA (April 14, 2017)-Boy Howdy a four-year-old son of Southern Image took a Santa Anita five and a half furlong $56,000 allowance race by a handy half length.

Out of the stakes placed broodmare Sophisticated Sis (by Millennium Allstar) Boy Howdy was a $45,000 Barretts yearling purchase by Jon Lindo and is currently owned by Acker, Tom, Allen, Lori and Beauchamp, Smith and Whitney LLC. He has an overall record of six lifetime starts with two wins, a second and a third totaling $92,065.

From the postrace chart "Boy Howdy dueled three deep to the stretch, gained a slim advantage in upper stretch, drifted in some and held on gamely under urging."

Southern Image is a multiple grade one winning millionaire that is standing for $1,500.

Haynesfield Filly She’s So Fine Wins Another

OZONE PARK, N.Y. (Apr. 1, 2017) – She’s So Fine, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Haynesfield, ran her win streak to four in Saturday’s $80,000 Karakorum Elektra Stakes for fillies and mares at Aqueduct.

She’s So Fine has five wins in 16 starts, earnings of $201,737 and has won all four of her starts this year, including a $20,000 claimer.

She’s So Fine a four-year-old filly ran the seven furlongs in 1:26.53 and won by over three lengths at odds of 5-2 in a field of six.

Bred by Brereton C. Jones and owned by Ben Mondello She’s So Fine is out of the Value Plus broodmare Speed Has Value.

Haynesfield is currently the third ranked sire on the 2017 California general sire list. He is the top son of sire-of-sires Speightstown standing outside of Kentucky.  Haynesfield is standing for $5,000 and Share the Upsides are available.

For further information contact Rancho San Miguel farm manager Clay Murdock or (805) 467-3847.


Haynesfield Colts Bring $130,000 and $42,000 at Barretts

Del Mar, CA (March 30, 2017)-Haynesfield had two juvenile colts cataloged for the March Select Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale and hip 132 was knocked down at $130,000 to William R. Peeples Also selling was Haynesfield's hip 22 fetching $42,000 from Red Baron's Barn & Rancho Temescal.

Hip 132, named Hayne's Pal, was consigned by Havens Bloodstock Agency, Inc., Agent and is out of the Friends Lake broodmare Mountain Buddies Hayne's Pal previewed with the third fastest two furlong move in 21 2/5. Previously, as a weanling, he sold for $40,000.

Hip 22, now named Sacred Field, previewed in 10 and one for consignor Crane Thoroughbred Services, Agent. He is out of the multiple stakes producing Sacred Sue.

Haynesfield is currently the fifth ranked sire on the 2017 California general sire list. He is the top son of sire-of-sires Speightstown standing outside of Kentucky.  Haynesfield is standing for $5,000 and Share the Upsides are available.

For further information contact Rancho San Miguel farm manager Clay Murdock or (805) 467-3847.

Jeff and J’s Dream Rallies Late for Big Win

VINTON, LA. (March 11, 2017)–Delta Downs closed out its 2016-17 Thoroughbred season on Saturday night with a 10-race program that included the final pair stakes races for the meet. The $50,000 Owners’ Appreciation Day Stakes featured an upset as Jeff and J’s Dream rallied late to win under jockey Juan Larrosa while Vieja Luna scored big in the $50,000 Owners’ Appreciation Day Distaff Stakes with jockey Roberto Morales in the saddle.

Jeff and J’s Dream used a strong late kick to get past millionaire and race favorite Rise Up in the final strides of the Owners’ Appreciation Day Stakes. The winning margin was one length as Great Minds finished third another half-length behind the runner-up. Jeff and J’s Dream covered the one-mile distance of the race in 1:39.23 over a fast track.

Jeff and J’s Dream is owned and conditioned by David C. Gomez, who found the race especially pleasing as it was his first ever win as a trainer. The victory marked the second win of Jeff and J’s Dream’s career and the $30,000 first-place prize raised his overall bankroll to $67,630.

Jeff and J’s Dream is a 4-year-old colt by Marino Marini, out of the Thunder Gulch mare Dream Day. He was bred in Louisiana by J. E. Nichols & Miller Thoroughbred Farm, Inc.

Sent to the gate at odds of 16-1 in a short field of just five runners, Jeff and J’s Dream paid $34.20 to win, $11 to place and $7.80 to show. Rise Up returned $3.20 to place and $2.40 to show. Great Minds was worth $2.10 to show.

Slew's Tiznow Sons Run One Two in Grade 3 El Camino Derby

ALBANY, Calif. (February 18, 2017)-Zakaroff scored a huge upset in Grade 3, $200,450 El Camino Real Derby, getting a half length victory at nearly 49-1.

Shane Miceli/Vassar Photography

Zakaroff took the the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:51.34. More Power to Him was moved up to second from third after the disqualification of Ann Arbor Eddie who finished second while impeding Tribal Storm.

Zakaroff relaxed early and dropped back down the backstretch.

Frey moved his mount out in the lane and was finishing strongly.

"Normally you might be (concerned about being boxed in), but my horse was completely relaxed and in hand," Frey said. "It did get a little bit shaky coming out of that final turn, but luckily we were able to muscle out and get a clean trip outside."

Winning trainer Steve Specht was surprised at the outcome, "It's a horse race, you never know," said Specht.

Zakaroff, a gelded son of Slew's Tiznow, was bred in Kentucky and was a $25,000 yearling purchase at the October 2015 Barretts sale by Antone Metaxas. Greg Gilchrist assisted Specht in picking him out.

He was bred by Eagle Ridge Racing and is out of the Mr. Greeley mare Grand Advice,

The victory was worth $120,000, bringing Zakaroff's career earnings to $148,120.

More Power to Him, another son of Slew's Tiznow got the place money of $40,000 and is now multiple stakes placed and an earner of $112,593. More Power to Him was foaled and raised at Rancho San Miguel for his connections.

First Foal is a Colt For Rousing Sermon

San Miguel, CA (February 6, 2017)-Multiple stakes winner Rousing Sermon sired his first foal when Coastal Skimming foaled a colt on January 30th.

The Coastal Skimming foal was bred by Mr. & Mrs. Larry D. Williams. Coastal Skimming is a multiple winner of over $122,000 and is the dam of Swiss Skimmer nearly a $160,000 in earnings and Sea Preacher almost a $100,000 in earnings

Rousing Sermon is by Lucky Pulpit and is out of Rousing. He is the leading son of Lucky Pulpit at stud in California. Rousing Sermon is also the leading juvenile earning son of his sire with over $274,000 earned as a juvenile by winning the California Cup Juvenile Stakes and finishing second in both the CashCall Futurity G1 and the Real Quiet Stakes. Overall, he earned $821,572 during his 36 race campaign.

Rousing Sermon will stand his second season for $2,000 live foal.

Curlin to Mischief First Foal is a Filly

San Miguel, CA (February 3, 2017)-Curlin to Mischief sired his first foal when Billiondollarbaby dropped a filly on February 2nd.

Rancho San Miguel farm manager Clay Murdock said "The first foal, for both Curlin to Mischief and the dam, stands up and over a good bit of ground. Her presence is noted by her beautiful eye and classic head. The bone, the body and her confirmation is what we had expected from this sire line."

Billiondollarbaby is by Giacomo out of Sovereign Cross. Her Curlin to Mischief 2017 filly was bred by Crown Racing Stables, LTD.

Curlin to Mischief is by Curlin and out of Leslie's Lady; she is the dam of multiple champion filly/mare Beholder and the Eclipse award siring Into Mischief.

Curlin to Mischief will stand for $3,500 live foal.

Slew's Tiznow Son Gathers Up Another Stakes, Finishing Second

Albany, CA (January 23, 2017)-More Power to Him picked up another Golden Gate Fields derby prep finishing second in Saturday's California Derby. The sophomore son of Slew's Tiznow has now placed in the Gold Rush Stakes and the California Derby with an allowance win in-between stakes; to give him two wins, a second and a third in his last four outings.

More Power to Him "made the winner work but wasn't quite good enough, losing the 1 1/16-mile race by only three-quarters of a length. He was allowed to settle to the second turn, rallied four wide then swung out five wide into the stretch, rallied to the lead in mid-stretch, battled on late but could not stall the winner."

More Power to Him has earned $72,593 from his six lifetime starts for breeder/owner Brett Mason.

Slew's Tiznow is California’s leading second crop sire of 2016 and was California’s leading first crop sire of 2015.

A multiple stakes-winning, grade I-placed son of Tiznow—Hepatica, by Slewpy, Slew's Tiznow retired with a 4-2-1 career line and earnings $321,100 from 14 starts. His record includes victories in the 2008 El Cajon and War Chant Stakes and a second in the 2007 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) for owner and breeder Joseph Lacombe Stable. He is standing for $2,500 in 2017.

Slew's Tiznow Runners Getting Big Wins

San Miguel, CA (January 4, 2017)-Slew's Tiznow recent runners More Power to Him and Pass Due Payment were allowance and maiden special winners, respectfully, this past weekend.

More Power to Him picked up his second lifetime win on December 31st at Golden Gate Fields in an allowance race going six panels. The two-year-old in his previous start ran third in the Gold Rush Stakes on December 3rd. He is now a winner of $52,593 for his breeder/owner Brett Mason.

Sophomore runner Pass Due Payment broke his maiden on January 2nd in a Golden Gate Field’s maiden special. He has a win and a placing from three starts and earnings of $23,105 for his connections of Andres A. Hernandez.

Dr. Go also got a win in December, at Del Mar, in an allowance race to push his earnings to $109,580.

Slew's Tiznow was the leading California first crop sire of 2015 and is the 2016 California leading second crop sire.

A multiple stakes-winning, grade I-placed son of Tiznow—Hepatica, by Slewpy, Slew's Tiznow retired with a 4-2-1 career line and earnings $321,100 from 14 starts. His record includes victories in the 2008 El Cajon and War Chant Stakes and a second in the 2007 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) for owner and breeder Joseph Lacombe Stable. He is standing for $2,500 in 2017.

Haynesfield's Move to California Generates Some Buzz
By Steve Andersen

Haynesfield, a former Kentucky stallion and Grade 1 winner, was recently moved to California for the 2017 breeding season. The millionaire racehorse could draw significant attention from the state’s breeders after recent changes among the leading stallions.

Unusual Heat, who led California stallions in progeny earnings six times from 2008-2013, was pensioned in October. Another top stallion, Tribal Rule, died in 2014, even though his progeny are still performing well.

Lucky Pulpit, the state’s leading stallion from 2014 through this year, has benefited massively from the global success of California Chrome, which has propelled him to the fore.

Haynesfield, who is by Speightstown, will stand for $5,000 at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, Calif. He arrived at the farm this fall from Airdrie Stud in Kentucky, where he stood for $10,000 in 2016.

Haynesfield was well supported in Kentucky. Through Dec. 15, he ranked 12th in second-crop progeny earnings with $1.8 million. A book of 75 mares is possible in 2017, according to Sean Feld, director of Climax Stallions, which manages Haynesfield.

“I think he’s a stallion that California needs to have,” Feld said in a mid-December interview. “Unusual Heat is pensioned. The top five or six stallions are kind of turf-centric. Haynesfield won on the dirt going short and long. He won from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles.”

Feld points out that Haynesfield is the only stallion by Speightstown in California. He said there was a strong response in the fall when the 10-year-old stallion’s relocation was announced.

“We’ve had a lot of action on him already,” Feld said. “It was shocking to me. The day we announced it my phone was ringing off the hook.”

Haynesfield won 10 of 19 starts and earned $1,319,481. He scored a milestone win in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in 2010 and was second in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct that fall. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Haynesfield won eight stakes and was twice named the New York-bred horse of the year.

His leading runner at stud so far has been Realm, who has earned $186,455. Realm, trained by Barclay Tagg, was third in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Nov. 26 in his stakes debut.

Haynesfield is the most prominent among the state’s new stallions in 2017, a group that includes horses recently retired who will stand for the first time, and stallions relocated from other states.

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