Oct 31, 2017
THE UNDERCARD STAKES: NOT B.C. BUT NOT A BAD PLACE TO BE
Of the five races leading to the four $1 million-or-more Breeders’ Cup events on Friday, three are stakes with $200,000 purses. Three more $200,000 stakes will set the stage for the nine $1-$6 million Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday.
Any of the undercard stakes would be standout features any other day at any track in America. The racing public may look at them as appetizers for the feasts that follow, but to the participants a victory can feel like a main course.
And Midwest-based trainer Larry Rivelli hopes to be the first to step up to the table.
Rivelli will saddle Good Bye Greg in the $200,000 seven-furlong Damascus Stakes, the first on the ten-race program as Del Mar hosts the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time.
Rivelli, 46, a stalwart of Chicago venues as well as tracks throughout the Midwest and Florida, hadn’t been to Del Mar before bringing Good Bye Greg, Burnside and The Tabulator out for the coming weekend. First post is 11:25 a.m. on Friday and 10:10 a.m. on Saturday for the Breeders’ Cup programs.
“I’ve raced at probably every track in the country and this is my first time here,” Rivelli said Tuesday morning. “It’s gorgeous and I can’t believe the weather. It’s phenomenal.”
The Tabulator drew the No. 7 post and was made the 6-1 co-third choice behind 9-5 favorite Bolt D’Oro in the $2 million Sentient Jet Juvenile on Saturday. Burnside is an also-eligible for the $200,000 Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes, the third race on Saturday and would need a couple of scratches to make the full-capacity 5-furlong event.
Good Bye Greg drew the No. 2 post for the Damascus and was listed at 8-1 behind defending race champion Silent Bird (5-2) and Mr. Hinx (3-1) in the field of seven for the seven-furlong sprint on oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s morning line. The 6-year-old, Florida-bred son of Teuflesberg has won five straight races going back to July of last year, six of his last seven and nine of 14 lifetime while earning $238,126 for Patricia’s Hope LLC.
There is just one catch.
“Our only concern is the dirt,” Rivelli said. “He hasn’t run on the dirt in two or three years.” Good Bye Greg’s winning streak has been built over the Polytrack surface – like Del Mar had from 2007-2014 – at Arlington Park in Chicago.
“ I’ve breezed him over the track here the last few days and he looks great,” Rivelli said.
The surface question aside, Rivelli sees plenty of reason for optimism.
“He’s been running shorter of late, but I think the distance will be better. He’s very fast out of the gate and he should have an easy lead. There isn’t much speed in the race compared. He’ll be the best-looking horse you’ll see at the races, I’m not talking about all of them. He’s just a beauty, a stunning horse to look at.
“The post position doesn’t make any difference. Whether he’s in the one, two or six, he’ll be in front.
“It will be the toughest group of horses he’s run against in a while. But nobody is on a streak like he’s been on. They’ve been going in Grade II and Grade III horses and running fourth or fifth, against better horses, I’m sure. And I’ve won five in a row against lesser.
“So, I think it will all even out and it will be his race to lose.”
Being on the outside looking in with Burnside in the Qatar Juvenile is a source of frustration.
“I love that horse, and I feel so bad he didn’t get in,” Rivelli said. “I think he could win the race, but not from the No. 12 hole, which is where he’ll be if we do get in. “If he doesn’t get in, we’ll just take him back to the Midwest or Florida.”
The Damascus field from the rail: Silent Bird (Kent Desormeaux), Good Bye Greg (Jose Valdivia, Jr.), Leading Score (Mike Smith), Kobe’s Back (Mario Gutierrez), Americanize (Rafael Bejarano), Mr. Hinx (Irad Ortiz, Jr.) and Loose On the Town (Javier Castellano).
STATE BREDS AND MARATHONERS COMPLETE FRIDAY UNDERCARD
The $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies and $200,000 Marathon Stakes are the other added-money events on the Friday undercard and familiarity could breed content for Del Mar regulars who saw a majority of the entrants run here during the summer meeting.
The Golden State Juvenile Fillies, seven furlongs on the main track for California-breds, drew a field of nine. Eight of them raced here during the 78th Summer Season which ended a 36-day run on Labor Day.
Spiced Perfection, Family Girl and Show It N Moe It, the 1-2-3 finishers in the 6-furlong Generous Portion Stakes on August 30, are all back to go an extra furlong for more than double the purse money of the Generous Portion.
Spiced Perfection has been freshened since the Generous Portion and retains the services of Joe Talamo, who has been aboard for all four starts, among them a maiden breaker on the opening day of the summer meeting that preceded the stakes score.
Flavien Prat, who won the summer riding title, will be aboard Family Girl for Peter Miller. “Flavien worked her the other day and we’re optimistic about her chances,” said Derek Lawson, Prat’s agent.
Trainer Mick Ruis, who has Del Mar Futurity winner Bolt D’Oro as the 9-5 favorite in Saturday’s $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, will saddle One Fast Broad, who will break from the No. 1 post.
“I like her chances,” Ruis said Tuesday morning. “I don’t think the No. 1 post will hurt her chances going that distance.
The field from the rail: One Fast Broad (Corey Nakatani), Mama’s Kid (Jorge Ochoa), Ismelucky (Kent Desormeaux), Show It N Moe It (Evin Roman), Sharona Sunset (Martin Garcia), Pulpit Rider (Stewart Elliott), Smiling Tigress (Tyler Baze), Spiced Perfection (Joe Talamo) and Family Girl (Flavien Prat).
The Marathon, 1 ¾ miles on the main track, attracted eight entrants, among them Hard Aces, Noble Nick and Infobedad, the 2-3-4 finishers from the 1 ½-mile Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar on July 26.
Hard Aces, who won the 2016 Cougar II, was nosed out at the wire by Curlin Road in the recent running. Trainer John Sadler then sent the son of Hard Spun out for the second straight year in the Pacific Classic where he finished fifth behind the likes of Collected, Arrogate and Accelerate.
The field from the rail: Archanova (Corey Landeros), Infobedad (Joel Rosario), Destin (John Velazquez), Estrechada (Javier Castellano), Noble Nick (William Antongeorgi III), Hard Aces (Santiago Gonzalez) and Dressed In Hermes (Brice Blanc).
HE WILL TABBED FAVORITE IN THURSDAY’S FEATURE
He Will, a 5-year-old son of Cyclotron, was established as the 5-2 morning line favorite and will take on nine rivals breaking from the No. 9 post in Thursday’s featured $75,000 Lure Stakes at one mile for older California breds on the turf.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, He Will has five wins from 18 career starts and earnings of $261,899.
The field from the rail: Ample Sufficiency (Gary Stevens, 12-1), Moonlight Drive (Rafael Bejarano, 5-1), Forever Juanito (Joe Talamo, 12-1), Dimension (Javier Castellano15-1), Twentytwentyvision (Flavien Prat, 6-1), Tequila Joe (Joel Rosario, 10-1), Cistron (Tyler Baze, 9-2), Eckersley (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1), He Will (Mike Smith, 5-2) and A Red Tie Day (Corey Nakatani, 8-1).
CLOSERS – Mark Casse brought a string of horses and spent the inaugural Bing Crosby meeting at Del Mar in the fall of 2014. He’s back for the first time since with a Breeders’ Cup contingent that includes $2 million Mile standout World Approval, the 9-2 second choice on the morning line to European invader Ribchester (7-2). “I’ve said before that Del Mar is the place where a trainer goes when he dies and goes to heaven,” Casse said Tuesday morning. Casse and his wife looked at properties locally but business considerations prohibited a permanent move. “I love California and I love racing out here, but one of the things that makes our organization so strong is our ability to move horses to various tracks,” Casse said. “When you’re in California it’s harder to do and it’s just too tough for us. We thought about it, but Florida has been my home for 50-some years.” … Selected works from Tuesday morning – Dirt: Roy H (3f, :36.80), Nezwaah (5f, 1:01.80); Turf: Wuheida (6f, 1:15.40).