Forgiving Spirit © Benoit Photo
Nine California-bred 3-year-olds and up have had their names entered for a $72,000 allowance sprint that serves as the feature on this Friday’s nine-race card as Del Mar heads into the final weekend of its 2022 Bing Crosby Season.
As many of these first-level allowance tests are, Friday’s turf dash looms an open affair. But favoritism well could fall to either of a pair of chestnut gelding sophs who finished within a neck of each other last out in a turf sprint at Santa Anita on October 8.
They would be Gem or Kagele’s Forgiving Spirit, who finished first that day with a nice run along the rail, or Brown, Klein or Lebherz’s Who’s Candy, who cut out quick splits going six furlongs, then just got nailed at the wire.
This Friday’s crucible is at five furlongs, as are all the turf sprints at Del Mar. That may give a slight advantage to Who’s Candy, who has only raced five times in his brief career. His chief rival will be making his ninth start Friday.
Top rider Flavien Prat has the call on Forgiving Spirit for trainer Peter Miller. Trainer Brian Koriner will give veteran Ricardo Gonzalez a leg up on Who’s Candy.
Here’s the full field for the feature in post position order with riders and morning line odds: R L Stables’ Moose Mitchell (Mario Gutierrez up, 6-1); Huntertown Farm’s Larry’s Legend (Edgar Payeras, 12-1); Forgiving Spirit (3-1); Nick Alexander’s Jack Sixpack (Kyle Frey, 12-1); Swanson or Howey’s Cowboy Charlie (Edwin Maldonado, 4-1); Knapp or Sardo’s Midnight Special (Tiago Pereira, 8-1); Big Barn Thoroughbred’s Beaudacious (Umberto Rispoli, 8-1); Who’s Candy (5-1), and The Ellwood Johston Trust or Thompson’s In Vronsky Style (Ramon Vazquez, 5-1).
This past summer Cowboy Charlie was a double turf sprint winner at Del Mar against claiming company, first at the $50,000 level, then for $62,500. The Stay Thirsty 3-year-old has four wins all told and adds another speed element into the heat.
The comebacker Beaudacious looms an interesting element in the dash. The 5-year-old horse by Karakontie was last out on May 30, but went on the shelf and switched barns to that of trainer Ryan Hanson. The bay has put in a series of sharp drills over the past few months and may be ready to fire at first asking for his new conditioner.
Jack Sixpack is another making a return to racing after being off since mid-April. The 3-year-old by Bluegrass Cat had been making two-turn starts on the lawn, but now will drop back to a sprint distance.
Larry’s Legend almost pulled off an 85-1 shocker at Santa Anita on November 4 when he was just caught at the wire going six and a half down the hill. The 4-year-old gelding by Creative Cause had come in from his Arizona base for that one and was taking on $25,000 claimer that day.
In Vronsky Style finished second in a pair of allowance sprints on the turf at Santa Anita in his most recent tries. He’s by the late sire Vronsky and works out of the barn of Del Mar’s leading trainer Phil D’Amato.
First post Friday will be at 12:30 p.m. That will hold true for Saturday and Sunday, also, the final two days of the fall session.