Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 ( 6 years ago )
July 15 2015
By Hank Wesch
MANY HAPPY RETURNEES, NEWCOMERS IN STABLE AREA
The established stables of Del Mar meetings through the years are back.
Those of Hall of Famers Bob Baffert, Neil Drysdale, Jerry Hollendorfer, Richard Mandella and Ron McAnally. Those of perennial training title contenders Peter Miller, John Sadler and Doug O’Neill.
The Midwest-based stables that made a 2014 impact with strings here for the first time have returned. Those of Mark Casse and Mike Stidham.
And there are several trainers from Northern California who have made stall requests for the first time or in numbers greater than in the past.
Racing Secretary David Jerkens looks over the lists and is pleased.
“Overall, it’s very similar to last year when we averaged 8.8 (horses) per race,” Jerkens said. “I think we’ll also see a lot of different horses from the ones that ran through the Santa Anita meeting due to the Ship And Win program.
“That has worked very well in stimulating bringing in horses from out of state and has been vital for the local (based) horsemen.”
The five Hall of Famers have a combined 140 horses on the grounds. The perennial contender trio accounts for 135 more. Casse and Stidham are bringing in a combined 47 horses, a slight increase from last season and fellow Midwesterner Phil Oliver has 10 stalls, up from two a year ago.
Stidham has 25 horses here. “About double what we had last year,” he said.
“We did all right here last year. Purses at Arlington Park are in the tank right now. We needed somewhere with better purses for some of the horses and this place fits that.
“And the bonus that they give to the out-of-state horses helps. I hope we have half as good a meeting as we had last year.”
Casse, Stidham and Oliver all saddled stakes winners in 2014. Stidham-trained Istanford won the San Clemente Handicap; Skyway, trained by Casse, won the Best Pal Stakes; Oliver won the 2013 Osunitas Stakes with Closing Range and Personal Diary, trained by his wife Victoria, won the 2014 Del Mar Oaks.
Michael Ann Ewing, who has had good success from limited starts in Kentucky, is shipping in two horses.
Among the Northern California-based trainers making the trip south, Bill Morey will have a dozen on site and O.J. Jauregui 10 while an ‘M’ squad of John Martin, Andy Mathis, Tim McCanna and Bill McClain have a total of 36 stalls allocated.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT MEET CHAMPIONS ROUNDUP
Three-time defending Del Mar Summer riding champion Rafael Bejarano took command early and was a runaway winner of the Santa Anita Spring meeting riding title. Bejarano had 47 wins in the 39-day session. Runner-up Tyler Baze had 35.
Bryan Pena, the outstanding apprentice at Santa Anita with nine wins from 75 mounts, is headed to Del Mar to add to his heretofore limited experience at the track.
Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill tied for the Santa Anita Spring meeting training title with 22 wins. It was the first Santa Anita title for Carlsbad’s Miller, the defending co-champion (with Jerry Hollendorfer) of the 2014 Del Mar Summer meeting with 20 wins. Miller notched a Summer session victory in 2012 with 21 victories and claimed the inaugural Bing Crosby meeting title last fall, saddling 15 winners.
O’Neill’s fourth Santa Anita title matched his Del Mar number. The victories here were recorded in 2004 (28 wins), 2006 (19 wins), 2007 (23 wins) and 2010 (31 wins).
Hronis Racing of brothers Kosta and Pete Hronis, the leading owners of the Santa Anita Spring meeting, have topped the category at Del Mar for the last two summers.
At the eight-day Los Alamitos thoroughbred meeting which concluded Sunday, O’Neill took the training title with five victories, one more than Miller and Bob Baffert. There was a four-way tie for the jockey crown with Santiago Gonzalez, Mario Gutierrez, Edwin Maldonado and Fernando Perez all notching six wins.
APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH, OCEANSIDE FAVORITE IS ‘COOL
Fitting nicely with Del Mar’s ‘Cool As Ever’ marketing theme, Papacoolpapacool was made the 5-2 morning line favorite by oddsmaker Russ Hudak for the traditional opening day featured Oceanside Stakes.
A Kentucky-bred son of Temple City trained by Phil D’Amato, Papacoolpapacool won the ungraded Pasadena and La Puente Stakes in March and April then finished seventh of 11 in the Penn Mile in May at Penn National.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has the mount for the 3-year-old gelding owned by Cellist Racing Group LLC or Nilforus.
The Oceanside field from the rail out: Forest Blue (Victor Espinoza, 8-1), Peacenluvpeacenluv (David Flores, 20-1), Tried and True (Martin Pedroza, 12-1), Fueled by Bourbon (Tyler Baze, 20-1), Royal Albert Hall (Flavien Prat, 10-1), Ride Hard Kowboy (Fernando Perez, 30-1), Thanksgiving Day (Martin Garcia, 10-1), Ground Rules (Kent Desormeaux, 12-1), Anytime Anyplace (Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1), Papacoolpapacool (Gary Stevens, 5-2), Soul Driver (Mike Smith, 3-1) and Extant (Joe Talamo, 20-1).
‘ALL SQUARED AWAY’ FOR INTRIGUING FIRST RACE OF MEET
The first race of the summer meeting is known for fanfare, end-of-anticipation release and pure happiness.
It’s always carded at a mile or so, making the start directly in front of the packed grandstand. Announcer Trevor Denman rightfully acknowledges the roar of the crowd as the gates open. And the winning connections of a $12,500 claiming race get more media attention than some graded stakes winners are accorded at other tracks.
Twelve are entered, with two on the also eligible list, for Thursday’s one-mile opener and the biggest career earner of the group, with $375,059, is All Squared Away. The 6-year-old gelded son of Bellamy Road has four wins and eight additional on-the-board finishes in 23 career starts with the highlight being a victory in the Kentucky Derby prep Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in 2012.
To begin 2013, All Squared Away notched an optional claiming victory, was stakes-placed in four straight Grade II events at Santa Anita, and came to Del Mar with designs on the Grade I Eddie Read before an injury to the right front ankle put him on the sidelines for nearly two years.
All Squared Away returned to racing last month at Santa Anita and has been training at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall for Thursday’s race.
“He’s a really nice horse, but not the same horse he once was, so we want to run him with his friends,” trainer Peter Miller said. “He’s a neat horse. I bought him for $1,000 at the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale and I was wondering what was wrong because I was ready to pay $20,000-$30,000 for him. But he’s been a really nice horse.”
Among the ownership group are Point Loma’s Bob Rodriguez and Joe Correia.
SHERMAN HOPEFUL CALIFORNIA CHROME MAY RACE AGAIN
Trainer Art Sherman reported that 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, recently sidelined with a bone bruise, is headed to a Kentucky farm for three months of recovery time.
“The prognosis (for recovery) is good and there’s a chance he could run again next year,” Sherman said Wednesday morning on the Del Mar backstretch.
Sherman’s son Steve, also a trainer, has Hope’s Love, a 2-year-old full sister to California Chrome.
“She was second in her first start,” Art Sherman said. “She might be a runner.”
SAHADI COMES OUT OF RETIREMENT FOR STABLE OFFICE JOB
Jenine Sahadi, the first female trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup event and a million-dollar race (Lit de Justice, 1996 Breeders’ Cup Sprint), has come out of retirement to work in the racing office for the meeting.
Sahadi, whose Grade I winners included 2000 Santa Anita Derby victor The Deputy (14th to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Kentucky Derby), retired from training in October of 2011. Among her horse racing-related activities since retirement is serving as President of the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation which provides academic scholarships for the children of backstretch workers.
On August 3 the Gregson Foundation will honor Hall of Fame jockeys Mike Smith and Gary Stevens at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar hotel. A limited number of tickets remain. Further information is available from Ms. Angie Carmona at (626) 447-2339.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF ON OPENING DAY
Opening day of the 76th racing season is tomorrow, Thursday, July 16. Here’s some facts that might prove helpful.
- First Post 2:05 P.M.
- Ten Races
- Approx. time for last race is 6:40 P.M.
- Gates open officially at 11:30 A.M.
- Valet parking begins at 10:00 A.M.
- General Parking begins at 7:00 A.M.—Main Gate.
- Preferred Parking Solana Gate—10:15 A.M. (When horses leave training track)
- Double Decker Buses from Solana Train Station begin at 9:00 A.M
- Hat contest registration begins at 11:30 A.M. in Plaza de Mexico
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793