Del Mar Breeders’ Cup week 2017 recap (Nov 1-5)
Wednesday Del Mar Recap: November 1
Fast main track and firm turf course. Three front running winners on dirt. The winning turf course running styles were a patient runner at five furlongs, a front runner at a mile and a sixteenth, a presser at one mile, and a stalker at one mile (rail at 30 feet).
Flavien Prat and Evin Roman both booted home a pair. Phil D’Amato saddled two winners.
Master Merion pressed and got the jump on Harbour Master to win the Let It Ride Stakes by a 1/2 length under John Velazquez. Kitten’s Cat dueled and finished a few lengths behind the top pair in 3rd.
Thursday Del Mar Recap: November 2
Fast main track and firm turf course. Two front running winners on dirt (7f, 5.5f). The winning turf course running styles were a midpack stalker at one mile, a flat mile stalker, a closer at a mile and a sixteenth, and a closer at one mile (rail at 30 feet).
Jerry Hollendorfer saddled two turf route winners including He Will in the Lure Stakes.
He Will rallied wide under Smith to prevail by a neck in a thrilling renewal of the Lure Stakes. Tequila Joe just edged my value top choice A Red Tie Day by a nose for the place. The latter stalked wide from the outside post and ran a decent race under Nakatani.
Friday Del Mar Recap: November 3 (Breeders’ Cup Day 1)
Fast main track and firm turf course. One dueling front running winner and that was Americanize in the seven furlong Damascus Stakes to begin the Breeders’ Cup Friday program. The winning turf course running styles were a stalker at a mile and a sixteenth, a patient runner in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (Rushing Fall), an inside stalker from post one in the BC Juvenile Turf (Mendelssohn), and a stalker in the G3 Senator Ken Maddy (Belvoir Bay) at five furlongs.
Four wins for Flavien Prat (2 stakes wins) including the BC Dirt Mile aboard Battle of Midway. Two stakes wins for John Velazquez including Forever Unbridled in the BC Distaff.
Closers dominated in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf including sharp winner Rushing Fall for Chad Brown but I will keep my eye on 4th place finisher Significant Form (also trained by Brown). The latter was in the hunt throughout and was the only horse on the pace that was around at the finish.
The BC Distaff was dominated by closers Forever Unbridled and Abel Tasman but I will put the 3rd and 4th place finishers on my watch list. Paradise Woods did all of the pace dirt work and weakened to 3rd late. She loves Santa Anita, has been brilliant at times, and appears to have a bright future. Elate finished a flat 4th despite entering training forwardly and entering the Distaff on top of her game. The Mott trainee is much better than that.
Saturday Del Mar Recap: November 4 (Breeders’ Cup Day 2)
Fast main track and firm turf course. Two front running stakes winners featuring CA-bred Bookies Luck in the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile and likely Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Grade 1 BC Classic at a mile and a quarter. The winning turf course running styles were a stalker in the G2 Goldikova (Kitten’s Roar) at one mile, last-to-first closer Declarationofpeace in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at five furlongs, midpack stalker Stormy Liberal in the BC Turf Sprint, stalker Wuheida in the BC Filly & Mare Turf, stalker World Approval in the BC Mile, and stalker Talismanic in the BC Turf.
Two stakes wins for Kent Desormeaux including Roy H in the BC Sprint. John Velazquez also guided home a pair of stakes winners including World Approval in the BC Mile. Peter Miller saddled two BC winners (Stormy Liberal, Roy H).
My first troubled trip award on Breeders’ Cup Saturday goes to Count Alexander in the $200,000 Juvenile Turf Sprint. The Cerin trainee had nowhere to go in the lane and ended up 11th. He seemed to have run and could have easily finished close to the top with a different trip.
Grand Jete did not have a smooth journey in the BC F&M Turf. She was expected to stalk the pace but lost critical early position after getting bumped and steadied shortly after the start. She tried to rally wide turning for home and checked in 9th.
Bolt d’Oro wins the award for the widest trip of all time in the BC Juvenile. Breaking from post 11 of 12, he was seven wide early after bobbling at the start and remained widest throughout in a more than respectable show finish. Take nothing away from impressive maiden winner Good Magic, but he sat the perfect stalking trip in his 4.25 length victory over Solomini.
Sunday Del Mar Recap: November 5
Fast main track and firm turf course. One dueling front running winner on dirt (6.5f). Patient runners captured all three turf routes on the card (8f, 8.5f, 8f).
Two wins for Flavien Prat.
November 5 Claims: Race 3 – Matriculate ($25k, Doug O’Neill). Race 7 – Roosevelt($16k, David Bernstein).
Tesora could not have been more impressive in the grassy 4th race for high percentage trainer Jonathan Thomas. The 2-year-old filly stretched out, settled nicely under Joel Rosario, and finished powerfully to win under a hand ride. She looks like a future stakes winner.