Mr Fisk © Benoit Photo
Late-blooming Mr Fisk, a 3-year-old son of champion Arrogate, registered his first graded stakes victory Sunday at Del Mar as he came running strongly late to capture the 46th edition of the Grade 3, $101,000 Native Diver Stakes by a length and a quarter.
The homebred colt races in the silks of Sunny Brook Stables, which is the nom du course for Larry Brookshire of Lexington, KY. He is trained by Bob Baffert, who also trained his father, and gave Del Mar’s leading rider Juan Hernandez his fourth winner of the afternoon.
Finishing second in the nine-furlong feature was C R K Stables’ Skinner, who went off as the 11-10 favorite in the race, while running third – two and a half lengths farther behind -- was Rockingham Ranch and Bernsen’s Newgrange.
Final time for the feature was 1:49.69. The winner paid $8.40 as the second choice in the seven-horse field.
Mr Fisk now has won three of his eight starts and earned a first prize of $60,000 today to increase his bankroll to $185,700.
Del Mar will now head toward its final weekend of racing starting next Friday when there will be an eight-race card with a first post of 12:30 p.m.
JUAN HERNANDEZ (Mr Fisk, winner) – “This horse has finally figured out how to run. He put himself outside in the clear and he was traveling really good, very relaxed. He is very professional. I moved a little early to see if the horse in front of me was still waiting or if they wanted to go. I waited a little longer and then we hit the stretch. So I switched my whip, he switched leads, and that was it, we found an opening. I love this horse today because he loved the distance. I was waiting for this distance for him (nine furlongs) and it looks like he owned it. He always closes. The last couple of races he would break really, really sharp -- just like today”.
BOB BAFFERT (Mr Fisk, winner) – “This horse has really improved since this summer. He’s a horse we knew would be late coming around. But he’s changed so much since August. I was a little bit worried about the pace. It was a bit slow but Juan (Hernandez) realized they were going too slow and he made his move. He’s still a little green, learning how to run, but he has a bright future.”
FRACTIONS: :23.76 :48.60 1:13.41 1:37.65 1:49.69
The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Hernandez and his second (Extra Hope, 2020) in the Native Diver.
The stakes win was the third of the meet for trainer Baffert and his fourth in the Native Diver. He now has 168 stakes wins at Del Mar, far and away the most ever by a trainer at the seaside oval.
The winning owner is Sunny Brook Stables, the nom du course of Larry Brookshire of Lexington, KY.