Thursday, November 23rd, 2017   ( 1 year ago )

Del Mar Launches Final Weekend of Fall Racing Season Friday



Del Mar, acclaimed for its rousing success as a first-time host of the recent Breeders’ Cup, launches its final weekend of the 2017 Bing Crosby Fall racing season Friday, featuring the Grade II $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and one-half over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

The Hollywood Turf Cup is the first of seven graded stakes events to be presented over the final three days of the 16-day meeting. Saturday’s features are the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby, the Grade III $100,000 Native Diver Stakes and the Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes.

Closing-day Sunday’s highlights will be the Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes, the Grade II $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap and the Grade III $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes.

The Hollywood Turf Cup attracted an evenly-matched line-up of nine distance-loving older horses. In post position order, they are: Chicago Style, Drayden Van Dyke; Lottie, Rafael Bejarano; Flamboyant, Brice Blanc; Tequila Joe, Flavien Prat; Infobedad, Joe Talamo; Prince of Arabia, Tiago Pereira; Prime Attraction, Victor Espinoza; Manitoulin, Mike Smith, and Inordinate, Corey Nakatani.

French-bred Flamboyant, highweighted at 124 pounds according to allowance conditions, comes into the Hollywood Turf Cup as the biggest money-winner in the field with a bankroll of almost $900,000 and fresh from finishing a well-beaten but creditable third in the Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine in mid-October. However, the six-year-old is winless in six starts in 2017. Last summer, he was third, beaten less than a length, in the Del Mar Handicap.

Coming to Del Mar from the East coast are Lottie, a four-year-old filly supplemented for $2,000 by trainer Graham Motion, and Manitoulin, conditioned by James Toner.

Certain to have betting support is Prime Attraction, beaten only a head by Itsinthepost after setting the pace in the mile and one-quarter John Henry Turf Cup at Santa Anita October 1.

Post time for the first of eight races Friday will be 12:30 p.m.