Del Mar Stable Notes
Spring House Repeats in Del Mar Handicap
In one of the most exciting races of the summer season, R.D. Hubbard’s Spring House successfully defended his title in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap with a nose victory over longshot Sir Dave Sunday.
Spring House, with Alex Solis in the saddle, was far back in the pack in the early stages of the marathon mile and three-eighths race over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course as Ghetto and Black Astor set a suicidal pace.
The 8-1 Temple City, who had stalked the pacesetters under Michael Baze, turned for home with a clear lead, but then was confronted by Sir Dave and jockey Joel Rosario who appeared home free until nailed in the final jump by Spring House.
With the first four horses separated by less than a length, Temple City was three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up, nosing out 9-5 favored Artiste Royal for third money in the field of ten older Thoroughbreds.
A year ago, Spring House, a seven-year-old son of Chester House trained by Julio Canani, prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths, setting a course record of 2:11.14. His time Sunday was 2:12.61 as he earned the winner’s prize of $150,000 with his tenth win in 43 lifetime outings and became a millionaire in the process at $1,121,284.
As second choice in the betting at 5-2, Spring House returned $7.60, $4.60 and $3.80. Sir Dave, who went postward at 11-1, paid $10 and $5.80, while Temple City returned $5.40 to show.
Since the Del Mar Handicap is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Santa Anita, Spring House again earned a spot in the race in which he was ninth a year ago to eventual Eclipse Award winner Conduit.
Ferneley Upsets in Del Mar Mile
Irish-bred Ferneley, benefiting from a beautifully-timed ride by Joel Rosario, Del Mar’s top jockey this summer, swept to the lead in the upper stretch and ran on strongly to win Saturday’s featured $238,000 Del Mar Mile for older horses over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Ferneley, sent to the gate as the 5-1 second choice, won by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:33.11 for the once-around the grass oval. Allcansayis Wow and Lethal Heat, four-year-old fillies in a field of male horses, were second and third, respectively, separated by a half-length, with Victor’s Cry fourth in the field of nine. Temple City was withdrawn from the line-up.
Monterey Jazz, the 4-5 favorite under David Flores, raced prominently until the stretch and then faded badly to be seventh in a disappointing performance.
Ferneley, owned by the Silver Springs Stud Farm of David and Ian O’Rourke of Paris, Kentucky and conditioned by Ben Cecil, was scoring his sixth victory in 26 starts. First money of $120,000 increased the horse’s earnings to $405,824. Ferneley returned $13.20, $6.40 and $4.60. Allicansayis Wow, who was piloted by Garrett Gomez, paid $11.80 and $7.80 as a 10-1 longshot, while Lethal Heat returned $5.80 to show. The Del Mar Mile is a “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile which will be run Saturday, Nov. 7 at Santa Anita. However, Ferneley is not eligible and would have to be supplemented to the race.
Trainer John Sadler, moving nearer his second consecutive title at Del Mar, sent out four winners — Play Nine at $34.40 in the third, Mona de Momma at $5.20 in the sixth and Dave in Dixie at $17.60 in the seventh. He won his 22nd race of the summer, sending out Icemancometh at $9 in the tenth and final race of the afternoon.
Jockey Rafael Bejarno, who was winless on three mounts Friday in his return to competition after being seriously injured on opening day, July 22, won his first race since then aboard Mona de Momma.
Monday Works Please ‘Classic Trainers
Happy trainers, happy horses and good works were the orders of the day Monday as three prospective Pacific Classic runners put in their final serious training for Del Mar’s Grade I, $1-million signature event slated for Sunday.
Turning in sharp workouts were Mast Track, third in last year’s Pacific Classic; Tres Borrachos, second in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and Awesome Gem, preparing for his third straight Pacific Classic encounter.
Tres Borrachos, the first of the threesome to work under skies clearing from thick early morning fog, zipped 5 furlongs in 59.20 under Joe Talamo, who will ride the 4-year-old son of Ecton Park in the Classic. An elated Beau Greely said of the work: “He went super. I’m very happy with the work. Everything is looking good. The horse seemed very happy and I’m very happy.”
Splits for Tres Borrachos: 35.20 for 3 furlongs, going the final quarter in 24 seconds flat.
Mast Track, next up, had Humberto Ascanio, chief assistant to trainer Robert Frankel, in smile mode, too, as he watched his 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup winner cross the wire in a snappy 59.80 for 5 furlongs under exercise rider Jose Dominguez. “He’s a good worker and very fast,” Ascanio said after the drill.
Clockers caught Mast Track in fractions of 12.20, 23.80, 35.80 and 48 on the way to the final time. He was clocked galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13.40.
Winding up the day’s three works was a sharp 47.80 half-mile drill by Awesome Gem that trainer Craig Dollase called “one of the best works for him that I’ve seen a long time. He finished up nice and had a spirited gallop-out.”
In that respect, Awesome Gem, who had a target in front of him in the form of another worker, went whizzing past that worker by the time they reached the 7-furlong pole, an eighth of a mile past the finish line. Clockers caught Awesome Gem in these splits: 12.60, 24.60 and 36.40 on the way to final time.
Before the move, Dollase said he was just expecting a maintenance work since Awesome Gem ran two weeks ago in the Longacres Mile, where he finished second. “He’s not a very good work horse,” Dollase said, adding, “So we’ll see what ‘Gem’ decides to do.” He was a smiling trainer following the drill.
Exercise rider Juan Olivera was aboard.