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Magical Fantasy and jockey Alex Solis, right, pull away from the field in the stretch to win the Grade I, $350,000 John C. Mabee Stakes, Aug. 16 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA. (c)BENOIT PHOTO
Three pacific classic prospects sharpen up with workouts
A trio of potential starters for the 19th running of the Grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic worked this morning over the main track and all three trainers were thrilled with the drills.
Mast Track worked a half-mile in an easy 50.20 for the Robert Frankel barn, Song of Navarone clipped off 5 furlongs in a sharp 1:00.80 for Walther Solis, and Rail Trip stopped the clock in 1:14.40 for trainer Ron Ellis.
Of Mast Track’s drill, Frankel chief assistant Humberto Ascanio said, “He went really good. We wanted him to go easy in this first workout since he ran [second beaten a nose in the San Diego Handicap] and that’s what he did.” Exercise rider Jose Dominguez was up for the work.
Dominguez was the pilot for Rail Trip’s work, too, and trainer Ellis expressed pleasure with the trip. “He was just cruising out there,” Ellis said. “He’ll have two more works – probably 7 furlongs or a mile next time.”
Solis was ecstatic about his charge’s work, also, saying, “He worked really good. He went nice and easy, just the way we wanted it. It was his first work back from his race [third in the San Diego].”
David Flores subbed for regular rider Joel Rosario for the drill. “I told David we already had a rider, but asked him to do me the favor of working him this morning,” Solis said.
Top four from La Jolla could be heading for del mar derby
Chances are good that the first four finishers in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap will emerge again in the Grade II, $350,000 Del Mar Derby Sunday, September 6 at 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Winner Meteore and his stablemate, fifth-place finisher New Bay, were reported in good shape this morning by trainer Richard Mandella, whose win Saturday was his first in the La Jolla, the main prep for the Derby. “We’ll be considering the Derby for Meteore, but I’ll send New Bay back to sprinting,” the Hall of Fame trainer said.
Runner-up Rendezvous came out of the 1 1/16-mile turf race in good shape, Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, said this morning. “We’ll nominate to the Derby and then we’ll see what happens,” Ward said.
Another Hall of Famer, Neil Drysdale, said of third-place finisher Gretsky: “He came out of the race fine considering the rough trip he had. We’ll see how he responds and we’ll consider the Derby.”
Fourth-place finisher I’ll Show Them likely will show up in the Derby, trainer David Hofmans said. “He seems fine this morning, but he had kind of a rough trip,” Hofmans said. “He got bounced around a little coming out of the chute onto the main part of the course.”
Mandella’s La Jolla victory was his 47th stakes in his Del Mar career, leaving him one behind D. Wayne Lukas’ 48.
Jockey Alex Solis, scoring his second stakes victory of the meeting with the La Jolla win, ran his Del Mar career stakes-winning total to 93, leaving him one behind Eddie Delahoussaye and Bill Shoemaker on the track’s all-time list.
Field begins to build for Saturday’s grade I Del Mar Oaks
At least six 3-year-old fillies are already committed to run in Saturday’s 53rd edition of the Grade I, $350,000 Del Mar Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
The first four finishers in the Grade II San Clemente on August 1, headed by the stretch-running Starlarks, are expected for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, although the conservative Patrick Gallagher hedged just a bit on Starlarks. “We’ll enter and then we’ll look at how the race might shape up,” the native of Ireland said. Alex Solis would ride.
San Clemente runner-up Strawberry Tart will be back to tackle the Durante turf again for trainer Jeff Bonde and rider Martin Garcia. The Jamie Lloyd-trained filly with the strange name, Hameildaeme, will be trying to improve on her third place in the San Clemente. Danny Sorenson retains the mount.
Newly minted Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out Internallyflawless to better her fourth spot against Starlarks with Garrett Gomez in the irons.
Joining that quartet on the committed list are Well Monied, runner-up in Hollywood Park’s Grade I American Oaks, and the veteran graded stakes runner Nan from the barn of Craig Dollase. Well Monied is trained by Howard Zucker and has three wins in six outings this year. He’ll be ridden by Del Mar’s leading rider Joel Rosario.
Nan’s record shows seven straight starts in graded events, including five Grade I’s. Her best finish in that stretch was a third in Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes in January. Victor Espinoza will ride for owner J. Paul Reddam.
Internallyflawless zipped 5 furlongs this morning on the main track in 59.80, Well Monied drilled the same distance in 1:00.60 on Polytrack and Nan went 5 furlongs in 1:03.80 on the turf.
Field of eight set for Wednesday’s Green Flash Stakes
Headed by defending champion and horse for the course Get Funky, a field of eight will contest the 5-furlong, $85,000 Green Flash Handicap Wednesday on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Aside from the win in the 2008 Green Flash, the John Sadler-trained Get Funky won the 2006 Del Mar Derby on the turf and comes to this race from a fourth in Del Mar’s Wickerr Handicap on grass in his first outing of 2009.
Also making their 2009 debuts in the Green Flash are California Flag, Stoneside and Tropic Storm.
Here’s how they’ll line up from the rail, with weights and riders: Stoneside, 117, Martin Pedroza; California Flag, 122, Joe Talamo; Bamaha Breeze, 118, Martin Garcia; Delta Storm, 121, Joel Rosario; Get Funky, 118, Jose Valdivia, Jr.; Euroglide, 117, Michael Baze; Tropic Storm, 118, Aaron Gryder; Candy Pull, 116, Victor Espinoza.
On the also-eligible list: Tenga Cat, 116, Mike Smith; Flashmans Papers, 111, Alonso Quinonez; Majestic Diamond, 113, Brice Blanc.
Stoneside worked this morning in 36 seconds flat for 3 furlongs on the main track. Flashmans Papers drilled 4 furlongs in 48.80, also on the Polytrack and Tenga Cat turned in a 36.40 for 3 furlongs on the turf.
Trainer race tightens up; Rosario edges ahead again
A victory by Doug O’Neill trainee Gandolf Saturday moved the former champion to within one win of tying defending titlist John Sadler for the lead in the race for the meet’s top trainer as Sadler was shut out of the winner’s circle.
With the meet already in its second half, O’Neill’s win total is 10, with Sadler atop the standings with 11.
The jockey race continues to be tight, also, with Joel Rosario moving two up on runner-up Tyler Baze at 26-24 through the first 19 days of racing.