Del Mar Horses To Watch Nov 13
• Del Mar Race Track, where the “turf meets the surf”, completed week two of their four week fall meet without incident on Sunday. Overall the main track has played fair, but on Sunday the outside lanes were the place to be and rally wide closers had the advantage. The times have continued to be on the “slow” side. The turf course has played fair regardless of where the inner rails have been placed, in fact, the rails have been out both weeks preserving the inner part of the course for the final week of racing and their Turf Festival. With a 90% chance of rain in the area this week, the track announced six days in advance they would cancel Thursday’s race card this week. That’s the first time in the 82 year history of this track they cancelled a day of racing due to the weather. Of course this is Southern California, and it may not even rain at all, but as usual, there is more to the story. Number one, they have a shortage of horses on this circuit right now and if you’re going to cancel a day, a Thursday is the right day to cancel. Number two, they need to preserve the turf course in case it does rain for the final week of racing where a number of graded stakes will be run and many horses will be shipping out from the east coast for those races. And number three, we really don’t need another break down due to an “off” track. They seem to have enough on “fast” surfaces. To error on the side of caution is the right decision for all parties involved. Racing will return on Friday with two carryovers, the Super High Five at $18,138 and the single ticket jackpot of the pick six at $87,259.
• They ran two stakes over the weekend and both had low priced winners due to short fields. On Saturday, only four went to the post in the Grade 3 Bob Hope stakes, a sprint for two year olds going 7/8 on the main track. Baffert’s High Velocity remained undefeated with a hard earned victory at even money defeating Strongconstitution by a length. The two turned the race into a match race with both horses coming into the stretch head to head with the winner pulling away late down on the inside. The time was 1:23.16 for the 7 furlongs and the winning Beyer number of 81 was the second lowest in the history of the race, which used to be called the Hollywood Prevue, when it was run at Hollywood Park. Then on Sunday, Queen Bee to You, got the perfect bias aided trip from the outside and won the Betty Grable stakes at 7/8 on the main under Flavien Prat and paid an even $8.00 to win. Six went to the post in this race and the heavy 3 to 5 favorite, Mo See Cal, who just ran in the B/C Distaff, didn’t fire at all, finishing a well beaten third. The winner won by four and a half and the winning time was 1:22.90. She had been facing much tougher, running against males and in “open” races and was back in with Cal breds on Sunday. There are two stakes scheduled this weekend, the Grade 3 Native Diver on Saturday, at 9 furlongs on the main track for older runners and the Cary Grant stakes for older Cal breds on Sunday at 7 furlongs on the main track. Native Diver was one of the fastest horses of his era back in the sixties and won the Hollywood Gold Cup three successive years. He was ridden by Jerry Lambert and won races in wire to wire fashion from six furlongs to a mile and a quarter and raced through his 8 year old season. He was a real fan favorite.
• Racing really hasn’t been all that great the first two weeks of this meet, but all of that changes in the final four days of the meet beginning on Thanksgiving Day. Each day has at least one graded stakes with plenty of shippers and full fields in the making. On Thanksgiving they run the Grade 3 Red Carpet stakes for older runners at 11 furlongs on the grass. Phil D’Amato trained Storm the Hill tops the field and notable shippers will be Theodora B and Si Que Es Buena. On Friday, they have 20 nominations for the Hollywood Turf Cup with 7 of them from the east coast. United, who just ran second in the B/C Turf heads the field along with Arklow for trainer Brad Cox. Then on Saturday they have three graded stakes, all on the grass. The Grade 3 Jimmy Durante for 3 year old fillies, with the Chad Brown trained Princesa Caroline leading the way, the Grade 2 Seabiscuit with the eastern shippers leading the way, i.e. Curlin’s Honor (Casse), Gucci Factor (Clement), and Sacred Life (C. Brown), and then the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, which Chad Brown has won the last two years and he has three nominated for this race in 2019. The meet concludes on Sunday with two graded stakes, the Cecil B. DeMille for two year olds and the Grade 1 Matriarch for older fillies and mares. Got Stormy, who missed by just a neck to Uni in the B/C Mile heads up that field, but other top runners such as Julie Foxtrot, Daddy Is a Legend, Significant Form, Starship Jubilee, and the red hot local, Toinette for Neil Drysdale. It all shapes up as a top final week of racing at Del Mar.
• Comings and Goings: As most of you know, Tyler Baze is back riding on this circuit and has made zero impact since his return. He is best on a front runner but did get a win on Sunday rallying with the outside bias to get a horse up at the wire as the 9 to 5 choice. Two other riders are leaving and heading back east hoping for greener pastures. The most notable is Martin Garcia, who has done fairly well with a limited number of mounts. He has maintained a win percentage of 15 throughout the year and that easily puts him in the top seven in that category on this circuit. He is moving his tack to Churchill Downs and will start riding there this Wednesday. He will also ride at Turfway Park in Kentucky and Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, when they start that meet in January. Agent Jay Fedor will have his book. The other departure is Kent Desormeaux, who went through the entire six week fall meet at Santa Anita without a single winner. The Hall of Famer will return to his native Loiusiana and start riding there this coming week
By Rod Young (Turfdom)