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Nine Sophomores Clash In La Jolla Handicap

Nine well-matched three-year-olds, including five runners who competed in divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on opening Day, July 17, will tangle Saturday in the Grade II $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at a mile and one-sixteenth over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

The La Jolla Handicap is the final steppingstone to the $300,000 Del Mar Derby at nine furlongs on the grass Sunday, Sept. 1, an event which traditionally decides the three-year-old champion of Del Marís summer season.

With no standout among the entrants, Greeley Awesome (Julien Leparoux) and Freakin Rocket (Mike Smith) could be dueling for favoritism off their performances in the first division of the Oceanside.

Greeley Awesome, making his first start for trainer John Sadler after being claimed for $40,000 in early June at Betfair Hollywood Park, was beaten only a neck by Gervinho, closing strongly in the stretch.  Freakin Rocket, who was two-for-two entering the Oceanside, was third, beaten 1 ľ lengths after taking the lead in the upper stretch.

Others in what appears to be a wide-open renewal of the La Jolla ĎCap are French-bred Si Sage (Edwin Maldonado), Denís Legacy (Corey Nakatani), Uno Dos Adios (Agapito Delgadillo), Dry Summer (Joe Talamo), Rosengold (Martin Garcia), Dice Flavor (Garrett Gomez) and Pure Loyalty (Rafael Bejarano).