Displaying the gameness that he has become known for, Big Macher, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Rafael Bejarano, fought off the two-pronged attack of longshot Rousing Sermon and previously unbeaten Red Outlaw to win the featured $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes Sunday at Del Mar.
Big Macher, victor in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes last summer at Del Mar, dueled with 16-1 longshot Rousing Sermon from the start of the seven-furlong sprint, responded in the stretch when Red Outlaw joined the battle from the outside and then prevailed by a neck in the final yards over a tenacious Rousing Sermon.
Red Outlaw, the 3-2 second choice after winning six races in a row, faltered in the late stages after his bid in upper stretch, dropping back to fourth, a length behind the closing Patriots Rule. The latter was 1 ¼ lengths behind runner-up Rousing Sermon.
Big Macher, owned by Tom Mansor and Tachycardia Stables and trained by Richard Baltas, ran the distance in 1:21.81 and returned $4.80, $3 and $2.60 to his supporters in a crowd of 5,843. First money of $60,000 after the four-year-old Beau Genius gelding’s sixth victory in 14 starts increased the horse’s career earnings to $556,678.
Rousing Sermon, dropped back to a sprint after running middle distances for most of his career, paid $8.80 and $5.60, while Patriots Rule returned $3.60 to show. Withdrawn from the race were Soi Phet and Got Even.
Bejarano, leading rider during Del Mar’s summer meet, broke out of a rare slump to boot in four winners Sunday after having only a single victory before Sunday. He won the second on Zanbo, the seventh aboard Dancinthenightaway, the eighth on Big Macher and the ninth astride Jomelo.
Sunday’s Pick Six featured a total pool of $1,112,574 after $997,450 in “new” money was wagered and $115,124 was carried over from Saturday. On a formful afternoon, there were 221 six-winner tickets and each paid $2,943.
Del Mar’s inaugural Bing Crosby Season resumes Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, with a special first post time of 11 a.m. The feature race will be the Grade II $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and one-half on grass.
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Big Macher, winner) – “We’ve been working with him since his last race. He got away slow last time and it cost him. Today he broke really well and I was able to control the race. He’s game and I didn’t think the 8 horse (Rousing Sermon) was going to be able to beat me. He almost did, but I was able to save a little bit for the end.”
ELVIS TRUJILLO (Rousing Sermon, second) – “He tried so hard. He’s such a game horse and he ran really well. The winner was game, too.”
FERNANDO PEREZ (Patriots Rule, third) – “No pace; we didn’t get any pace to run at. He was closing well, but we had nothing to run at.”
EDWIN MALDONADO (Red Outlaw, fourth) – “They loaded him first and I don’t know why. He was supposed to load last. He didn’t like it in there standing and he didn’t get a good break. Very frustrating.”
RICHARD BALTAS (Big Macher, winner) – “It’s vindication for the horse. We didn’t get to see him in the Breeders’ Cup. He came back in three weeks and had to work today, it wasn’t an easy race, but he showed what he’s all about. He’s that type of horse. In half of his races, he gets hooked and he doesn’t give up. It’s nice to have a horse like this. We’re going to give him a little rest and get ready for the Santa Anita meet.”
FRACTIONS: :23.03 :45.60 1:09.46 1:21.81
This is the first running of the Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar. Previously, it had been run 29 times at Hollywood Park as the On Trust Stakes.
The stakes win by Rafael Bejarano was his first of the meeting, but his 42nd overall at Del Mar.
The stakes win by Richard Baltas was his first of the meeting and second overall at Del Mar. (Big Macher had won the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes here this past summer.)
The winner is owned by Tom Mansor of La Mesa, CA and the Tachycardia Stables of Brendan Bakir of Malibu, CA.