Master Merion Wins Let It Ride Stakes as Breeders' Cup Week Begins
Master Merion © Benoit Photo
Ultra consistent Master Merion, never worse than third in eight career starts, further enhanced his record Wednesday with a convincing triumph in the featured $79,340 Let It Ride Stakes, a mile test for three-year-olds over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course on opening-day of Del Mar’s fall racing season.
The Let It Ride is the first in a stakes bonanza which will be climaxed Friday and Saturday when Del Mar plays host for the first time to the Breeders’ Cup championships, 13 races for more than $28 million.
Master Merion, sent postward the even-money favorite under East Coast-based rider John Velazquez, was well-placed in the clear on the outside while stalking the pacesetters, moved strongly in the upper stretch to take command and held sway to win by a length in 1:35 flat.
Harbour Master ran well to be second, a length and three-quarters in front of Kitten’s Cat, with Van Cortlandt in fourth another half-length away.
Master Merion, a son of Quality Road owned by Vivienn Day and Kate Rose and trained by Wesley Ward, recorded his fourth win in nine starts with four seconds and a third. First money of $47,190 increased the colt’s earnings to $338,840. He returned $4, $3 and $2.60. Runner-up Harbour Master paid $4.60 and $3.60, while Kitten’s Cat returned $3.20 to show.
Racing continues Thursday at Del Mar, spotlighting older horses at a mile on the grass in the $75,000 added Lure Stakes, with post time for the first race 12:30 p.m.
Post time for the first race on Breeders’ Cup Friday will be 11:25 a.m., while Saturday’s program will kick off at 10:10 .m.