By Hank Wesch
NEW STABLES 1-2-3 IN FIRST DEL MAR STAKES TRY
The saying goes “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. “ If that’s true, trainers Mike Stidham and Mark Casse made the most of the opportunity to impress Del Mar fans and their fellow horsemen on Saturday.
Stidham’s Istanford won the $200,000, Grade II, San Clemente Handicap and Casse’s Tepin and My Conquestadory finished second and third. An across-the-board sweep for the first-year-at-Del Mar stables in the first graded stakes of the summer meeting.
All three horses came out of the one-mile turf race well, their connections reported. All three 3-year-old fillies will be given consideration for the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Saturday, August 16.
“(Istanford) came out of the race great,” said Chris Davis, the assistant to Stidham in charge of the Del Mar contingent of 14 horses for the meeting. Stidham, on site for the San Clemente, hastened back to Arlington Park in Chicago and the 65 horses under his care there.
“(Istanford) beat the boys at Arlington Park (Grade III Arlington Classic, May24) and didn’t get any respect,” Davis said, referring to the 10-1 odds and $22.80 win payoff. “She beat some very good (males) in that race.”
The $120,000 first place prize boosted career earnings for the daughter of Istan, owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash and Sam and Janet Alley, to $328,365 with four wins in 10 lifetime starts.
Casse, in from Woodbine and parts east with 40 horses, was happy about the efforts of his two fillies, whose earnings from the race totaled $64,000.
“My Conquestadory’s trip was a little wide, but I haven’t had a chance to check Trakus yet to see how much ground she lost,” Casse said. “Tepin had a good trip. The plan (for next race) was the Oaks if everything is OK. I think they will both appreciate the extra distance.
“It was nice. Now we’ve got to get a first win. It’s always good to get that monkey off your back.”
PACIFIC CLASSIC WATCH, FIRST EDITION, 5 WEEKS OUT
Preliminary preparations for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 24, went well for several candidates during the week. For some, Saturday’s $200,000, Grade II San Diego Handicap will be the final pre-Classic test it is perfectly suited to be. A rundown:
Game On Dude – The defending race champion worked 4 furlongs in :47.60 under Martin Garcia on Saturday.
Majestic Harbor – The Gold Cup winner had his first work since that race, going four furlongs in :50.00 under Tyler Baze. “Just an easy half,” trainer Sean McCarthy said. “He seems happy, he seems content so, fingers crossed, we’re pointing for the Classic.”
Clubhouse Ride – Worked five furlongs in :59.60 on Friday, second-fastest of 54 works at the distance. “He looked better than a million bucks, he looked like $1.3 million,” said trainer Craig Lewis, citing the Gold Cup runner-up’s career earnings. The Pacific Classic and the Whitney at Saratoga are primary targets for the 6-year-old’s next start. “More probably than not, we’ll run here,” Lewis said.
Dance With Fate – The Blue Grass Stakes winning 3-year-old worked five furlongs in :58.40 on Saturday for trainer Peter Eurton, fastest of 90 at the distance. “Loved the work, loved the way he did it,” Eurton said. “If everything goes well, we’ll see you next Saturday (in the San Diego).”
Frac Daddy – The Ken McPeek trainee, in the care of Blake Heap at Del Mar, is scheduled to work five furlongs under Joe Talamo at 6:30 Monday morning in a final exercise for the San Diego. A sufficient San Diego result would project to a Pacific Classic start.
Shared Belief – Worked 4 furlongs in :52.80 on Wednesday, slowest of 13 at the distance at Golden Gate Fields where the Eclipse 2-year-old champion and recent Los Alamitos Derby winner will do the majority of his training leading up to the Classic.
Seventeen horses were nominated for the San Diego. Close of entries and post position draw is Wednesday.
NINE ENTERED IN WICKERR FOR WEDNESDAY
A field of nine was entered for Wednesday’s $90,000 Wickerr Stakes, featured event for the start of the second week of the summer season.
No Jet Lag, a four-year-old son of Johar, returns to the site of an August 11, 2013 victory in his U.S. debut. Trained by Simon Callaghan and to be ridden by Corey Nakatani, No Jet Lag followed the Del Mar victory with another in the Grade II City of Hope at Santa Anita then finished off the board in three Grade I or Grade II stakes there and has been unraced since February 1.
The Wickerr field from the rail out: Boyett (Tyler Baze, 121), Dry Summer (Fernando Perez, 121), Te Rapa (Mike Smith, 119), Bright Thought (Rafael Bejarano, 121), No Jet Lag (Corey Nakatani, 121), Safety Belt (Joe Talamo, 121), Barocci (Victor Espinoza, 121), Lil Bit O’Fun (Aaron Gryder, 121), Rangi (Kent Desormeaux, 119).
CLOSERS – Jeranimo, winner of the 2013 Eddie Read Stakes, is scheduled to lead the post parade for today’s 41st running of the Grade I event. Jeranimo, trained by Mike Pender for the late B.J. Wright and partner Robert LaPenta, has been retired with negotiations in progress for a career at stud … Horses qualifying for the Ship And Win program on today’s card are: Sapphire Breeze (3rd, trainer Mike Stidham), Daddy’s Duo (4th, J. Keith Desormeaux), Summer Front (5th, Christophe Clemente, no bonus, stakes), Unbridled Command (5th, Peter Miller, no bonus, stakes), Press Baron (7th, Patrick Gallagher), Conquest Archangel (8th, Mark Casse) … Del Mar clockers timed 214 workouts on Saturday and 252 on Sunday for a total of 466 over the weekend. Notable works from the Sunday onslaught were: Main track—Majestic Harbor (4f, :50.00), Fed Biz (5f, :59.80), Rovenna (5f, 1:02.80), Silentio (5f, 1:00.40), Sky Kingdom (5f, 1:00.80), Tanzanite Cat (5f, 1:021.20), Iotapa (6f, 1:13.40), Kobe’s Back (1:12.20), Moulin de Mougin (7f, 1:26.60); Turf – Miss Serendipity (4f, :49.80), Obviously (5f, 1:00.80), Winning Prize (6f, 1:16.00) … Jeff Bloom, who emcees the “Daybreak at Del Mar” weekend breakfast and morning workout sessions had the opportunity to give himself a nice introduction on Sunday morning. “Hi everyone, I’m Jeff Bloom of Bloom Racing LLC. Our horse, Drover Crazy, won Saturday’s eighth race and paid $33.80 to win.” Bloom passed up that opportunity, however, and said he wasn’t inclined to even mention it. “I’m not big on self promotion like that,” Bloom said.
Sunday, July 20, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793