Friday, November 24th, 2017   ( 1 year ago )

Hollywood Derby Tops Stakes Tripleheader Saturday at Del Mar

Sharp Samurai © Benoit Photo

Del Mar continues its Fall Festival of graded stakes competition Saturday with a tripleheader highlighted by the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby for three-year-olds at a mile and one-eighth over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

A strong nine-race program also will feature two Grade III contests, the $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes for two-year-old fillies at one mile on grass and the $100,000 Native Diver Stakes for older Thoroughbreds at nine furlongs on the main dirt surface.

Post time for the first race Saturday is 12:30 p.m.

Del Mar’s fourth Bing Crosby season, marked by the seaside track’s highly successful debut as host of the prestigious Breeders’ Cup early in November, will close Sunday, with three more significant stakes on the card – the Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes for older fillies and mares, the Grade II $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap for older runners and the Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes for two-year-olds.

Seeking his fifth consecutive stakes win in the Hollywood Derby will be the aptly-named Sharp Samurai who will have the saddle services of Gary Stevens. Sharp Samurai, a son of First Samurai trained by Mark Glatt, comes into the race off victories in the Rainbow last June, the La Jolla Handicap and Del Mar Derby last summer, and the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita in late October.

Taking on the solidly-favored Sharp Samurai will be Ann Arbor Eddie, Mario Gutierrez; Bowies Hero, Kent Desormeaux; Channel Maker, Javier Castellano; Ritzy A P, Drayden Van Dyke; Souper Tapit, Jose Lezcano; Mo Town John Velazquez; Just Howard, Fergal Lynch, and Big Score, Flavien Prat. All starters carry 122 pounds.

Preceding the Hollywood Derby, slotted as the seventh race Saturday, will be the Native Diver Stakes, carded as the fifth event. Bob Baffert-trained Mubtaahij will pack highweight of 125 pounds under Van Dyke versus Top of the Game, Desormeaux; Curlin Rules, Prat; Prime Attraction, Victor Espinoza; Irish Freedom, Rafael Bejarano; Wild About Deb, Tiago Pereira, and Irish Surf, Stevens.

The Irish-bred Mubtaahij was eighth behind Gun Runner in the Breeders’ Cup Classic but previously won the Awesome Again at Santa Anita in late September.

Climaxing the Saturday program will be the Jimmy Durante Stakes which attracted a wide-open line-up of 13 juvenile fillies. Entrants are Casino Red, Bejarano; Daddy Is A Legend, Joe Bravo; One Fast Broad, Corey Nakatani; Lexington Grace, Stevens; Raucous, Prat; Multiplayer, Tyler Baze; Ever So True, Velazquez; Deep Breath, Pereira; Sappho, Desormeaux; Just a Smidge, Van Dyke; Data Dependent, Castellano; Thewayiam, Lynch, and Fatale Bere, Mike Smith.