News and Notes Del Mar Fall Week 2
• Del Mar completed week two of their Fall meet this past Sunday and the main track remains a biased race track. On opening week the first two days favored early speed, then they over corrected the issue for the Breeders Cup and the track favored rally wide closers and the rail was completely dead for the weekend. This past week they ran just 3 days and although the race track was fair from a pace standpoint, the outside lanes are clearly the best. The bias is not as strong as it was for the Cup but it is still there. Outside posts sprinting, with tactical speed, will put you in the winners circle. The turf course is also biased as it consistently favors off the pace runners, even with the rails out 24 feet. Lone front runners, which are normally dangerous, always seem to get swallowed up at the 1/16th pole, regardless of how fast or slow the early fractions are. That may change as the course gets worn down, but I doubt that it will. Racing returns to their normal four day week starting this Thursday and the pick six single jackpot has a c/o of $53,603. The weather has been perfect for the Fall with temps in the mid to high sixties.
• The Fall meet is called the “Bing Crosby Season”, named for the iconic crooner who co-founded the track way back in 1937. Keeping with that tradition, many of the stakes races are named for the Hollywood crowd in that era, hence the Betty Grable stakes and the Bob Hope stakes were run over the weekend. In the Betty Grable stakes, a 7 furlong sprint for Cal bred fillies and mares, Majestic Heat came back in 8 days for Richard Mandella and trounced a decent field by three and a half lengths. She was far and away the class of the field, so to get $9.20 on her was sort of a steal. But Mandella doesn’t normally run a horse back that quick, plus she had never raced on the dirt. But she had the outside post with red hot Flavian Prat in the irons, and she just cruised by the leaders at the ¼ pole without ever being asked to run. Nobody else was really in the race after that. The irony of the quick turnaround is that Barry Abrams is one of the owners of Majestic Heat, and when he was training, his signature move was running a horse back within a week. This just gives Mandella another option to go forward with the five year old mare. Then on Saturday, Greyvitos for Adam Kitchingman took down the Grade 3 Bob Hope stakes for two year olds going 7 furlongs on the main track. This looked like a 3 horse battle on paper but Greyvitos ($41.80) came running out of the one hole, took a lonely lead into the far turn, and nobody could catch the maiden runner. He had made our Horses to Watch list from his previous race but he looked in over his head in this field. The grey son of Malibu Moon won by a length and a half over the favorite, Mourinho, and it was another 8 lengths back to the third horse. He even overcame the inside bias. It just goes to show that two year olds at this time of year can improve by leaps and bounds.
• Stakes action is limited once again this week with the Desi Arnaz stakes for two year old fillies going 7 furlongs to be run on Saturday, then the older Cal bred runners get a shot at $100K on Sunday with the Cary Grant stakes at 7 furlongs. But the final week will be outstanding with the Turf Festival, which will have plenty of stakes action all four days on the grass, culminating with the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Saturday, and the Grade 1 Matriarch stakes for older fillies/mares on Sunday. We will break down all of those races on our News and Notes next week.
• Trainers Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill each won 3 races on Sunday, but the former is running away with the training title as he has opened up a 4 win lead on Jerry Hollendorfer. As mentioned before, Miller lives just up the road in Encinitas and always gears up for the Del Mar meets. Jockey Flavian Prat also has a 4 win lead in the rider standings. He won two on Sunday and leads the apprentice, Evin Roman 11 to 7 with 8 racing days remaining. Kent Desormeaux and Rafael Bejarano are both riding well right now as well, but Tyler Baze and Joe Talamo are both ice cold.