Friday, November 3rd, 2017   ( 1 year ago )

Americanize Upsets in Damascus Stakes

Americanize © Benoit

Kaleem Shah’s Americanize, piloted by Rafael Bejarano, withstood the midstretch challenge of 8-5 favored Mr. Hinx and drew off in the final sixteenth to win the $200,000 Damascus Stakes Friday, the first race of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup schedule of championship events hosted for the first time by Del Mar.

Always well-placed in the seven-furlong sprint, Americanize shook off pacesetting Good Bye Greg to take command turning for home and then convincingly repulsed the bid of Mr. Hinx, who was ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., scoring by two and one-quarter lengths in a fast 1:21.73 for seven furlongs.

Third in the field of six older sprinters, another half-length away, was Loose on the Town, with Kobe’s Back fourth. Withdrawn was the pre-race favorite Silent Bird.

Americanize, a son of Concord Point trained by Simon Callaghan, returned $12, $6.20 and $3.60 after scoring his third win in nine career starts. First money of $120,000 increased his earnings to $235,545. Runner-up Mr. Hinx paid $3.20 and $2.40, while Loose on the Town returned $2.80 to show.

RAFAEL BEJARANO (Americanize, winner) -- “He broke so clean, so fresh from the gate. I had a beautiful trip. I fought him for as long as I could, got to the top of the stretch and let him go. He gave me a big kick.”

SIMON CALLAGHAN (Americanize, winner) – “He broke well and the race set up well for him. He’s always been a good horse; it just took him some time to develop.”

The stakes win was the first of the meet for rider Bejarano and this is the first time the Damascus has been run at Del Mar. He now has 56 stakes wins at Del Mar, 12th best of all time.

The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Callaghan. He now has seven stakes wins at Del Mar.

Owner Kaleem Shah has a home in San Diego.