Wake Up Nick Wins Graduation
Wake Up Nick, the 3-5 favorite under jockey Mario Gutierrez, extended his perfect record to 3-for-3 Wednesday with an impressive triumph in the featured
$100,000 Graduation Stakes for California-bred two-year-olds.
Wake Up Nick took command from the outside entering the stretch and then drew out to score by 4 ¼ lengths in the added money event that was won by future Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion California Chrome last summer.
Atta’ Boy Woody, the 5-2 second choice, rallied to be second, a length in front of Global Magician in the field of six young horses. Colorado Strong was a late scratch from the field.
Wake Up Nick, a son of Cindago owned by Reddam Racing and conditioned by Doug O’Neill, ran the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.49 and returned $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10 to his supporters in a crowd of 11,243. First money of $57,000 increased the colt’s earnings to $165,600. Previously, he won the Santa Anita Juvenile June 22.
Atta’ Boy Woody paid $3 and $2.20, while Global Magician returned $3.20 to show.
The Graduation Stakes is an early season steppingstone to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on closing day, Wednesday, Sept. 3.
Jockey Tyler Baze booted in two winners Wednesday to move to within a single triumph of a personal milestone, 2,000 victories in his career. He has six scheduled mounts on Thursday’s program.
With no perfect tickets in Wednesday’s Pick Six, Thursday’s card will feature a carryover of $59,127. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m.
MARIO GUTIERREZ (Wake Up Nick, winner) – “Last time I rode him, I tried to take a little hold and we had to work hard late. This time I just let him run. These 2-year-olds; a lot of them aren’t sure about what they’re doing so you don’t want to mess around with them too much. He’s a nice horse. I think he’ll run farther, too. Little by little; he’ll get there.
JOE TALAMO (Atta’ Boy Woody, second) – “He was a little green coming away from there. But he got it figured out and came running. He’s going to be a nice horse.”
ELVIS TRUJILLO (Global Magician, third) – “A good race for him. I was surprised at how well he ran. He’s a good one.”
DOUG O’NEILL (Wake Up Nick, winner) -- “He’s so professional. He gives you 110 percent all of the time and how do you not love a horse like that. We were all thinking we had the best horse going into the race, but not knowing how the track was going to play after the renovation with the wax. I thought Mario (Gutierrez) rode him with a ton of confidence and it showed what a top quality rider he is and top quality horse this is. (On Futurity possibilities) When you’ve got a top quality 2-year-old you’ve got to think Futurity. It’s big money and it’s prestigious, so he deserves a chance.”
FRACTIONS: :21.68 :45.42 :57.88 1:04.49
The stakes win was the first of the meet for Mario Gutierrez and his first in the Graduation. This is his third Del Mar stakes victory.
The stake win was the first of the meet for Doug O’Neill, but his second in the Graduation. He now has 23 stakes victories at Del Mar.
Reddam Racing is the nom du course of J. Paul Reddam of Laguna Beach, CA.