Friday, July 18th, 2014   ( 1 year ago )

Stable Notes Day 2

By Hank Wesch


Opening day of the 75th summer racing season drew an on-track crowd of 42,021 and a total handle of $14,858,277.  Down slightly from 2013 for attendance, up slightly for handle.

 Touching on a few scenes and highlights:

  • Brazilian-bred Hawk’s Eyes won the first race, for Brazilian-born jockey Tiago Pereira and Brazilian-born trainer A.C. Avila.
  • Apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke, 19,  won the second and fourth races in his Del Mar debut and ended the first racing day tied with Martin Garcia atop the jockey standings. “Good start,” Van Dyke’s agent, Sarah Wolfe, said Friday. “He was back out here at 4 a.m. Had some workouts to ride.”
  • Vann Belvoir saddled winners in the fourth and sixth races, the only trainer to post more than one opening day victory.
  • Stewart Elliott guided Know Plans to a $52.20 upset in the seventh race for trainer Barry Abrams. It was the first mount at Del Mar for Elliott, who rode Smarty Jones to Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victories in 2004.  Know Plans, a 5-year-old son of Unusual Heat, was a longshot to live as a baby after incurring an illness that cost him an eye and was 1-for-8 entering Thursday’s start. “I wasn’t surprised he won, but surprised he went wire-to-wire,” Abrams said. “If you look at the past performances, he’s had trouble every race. I told (Elliott) if nobody runs into you, you’re going to win. I didn’t tell him to go to the lead, he did that all on his own.”
  • The hitch by which the starting gate is pulled broke shortly after the start of the featured one-mile Oceanside Stakes forcing starter Gary Brinson’s crew to muscle the gate manually to the side before the horses came back around for the finish.


Trainer Mark Casse, who has a full stable of horses at Del Mar for the first time this summer, is taking two shots to make the track’s stakes-winning trainer list in Saturday’s $200,000, Grade II San Clemente Handicap.

The six-time Sovereign Award winner in Canada will saddle My Conquestadory (9-2) and Tepin (20-1) in the one-mile test for 3-year-old fillies over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

My Conquestadory, a daughter of Artie Schiller, won the Grade I Alcibiades and was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf as a 2-year-old and was narrowly edged in the Grade III Selene in her 2014 debut in May at Woodbine. Tepin, a daughter of Bernstein, won the Princess Stakes at Delta Downs last November but has a pair of eighth-place finishes this year.

“They’re both doing well. I was pleased with the way they trained this morning,” Casse said Friday. Casse arrived on Thursday but missed the opening day scene while getting settled in with his family at the house they’ll occupy for the duration of the meeting.

“I wish we had a little better post with My Conquestadory (No. 12).  She’ll have a lot to overcome from the outside post, but I feel like she’s ready and if she runs to her ability, she’ll be tough.

“(Tepin) had a really tough trip the last time. She ended up last but she went to come up the inside, looked like she was going to be right there, then she  got bumped and hit the hedge. I expect her to run well.”

The San Clemente field, from the rail out. Tiz the Key (Tyler Baze, 8-1), Tepin  (Stewart Elliott, 20-1), Miss Machiavelli (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1), Diversy Harbor (Mike Smith, 7-2), Concave (Mario Gutierrez, 20-1), Sushi Empire (Corey Nakatani, 20-1), Sandiva (Martin Garcia, 5-1), Istanford (Rafael Bejarano, 8-1), Morning Fix (Elvis Trujillo, 6-1), Sheza Smoke Show (Joe Talamo, 6-1), Tiz Kissable (Dennis Carr, 15-1) and My Conquestadory (Victor Espinoza, 9-2).   



A field of six has been entered for Sunday’s Eddie Read Stakes, the first Grade I event of the year at Del Mar.

Christophe Clement trainee Summer Front, runner-up to Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in June, was made the 8-5 favorite in track oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s morning line.

The Read, 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, will go as the fifth on an 11-race card and will be telecast nationally as part of the  Jockey Club Tour on FOX. Also featured on the two-hour FOX Sports 1 telecast (2:30-4:30 p.m. Pacific) will be the Coaching Club American Oaks from Saratoga. On-air duties will be handled by Greg Wolf, Richard Migliore, Andy Serling, and Alyssa Ali at Saratoga and Simon Bray at Del Mar.

The Read field, from the rail out: Spring Up (Corey Nakatani, 10-1), Summer Front (Joe Bravo, 8-5), Cogito (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1), Horizontalyspeakin (Joe Talamo, 3-1), Unbridled Command (Elvis Trujillo, 6-1) and Tom’s Tribute (Mike Smith, 2-1).



The Third Annual Paddock Sale at Del Mar of Race Ready Horses is set for Sunday, commencing 20 minutes after the last race, or approximately 7:15 p.m.

Catalog information is available through the Barretts website.  Among the horses listed for sale are stakes winners Heir Kitty, Ciao Bella Luna and Handsome Mike. Sushi Empire is scheduled to go through the ring one day after competing in the San Clemente Handicap. Ontology, stakes placed on dirt, synthetics and grass, also will go into the sale after running in an allowance on Saturday.

Jeranimo was listed for the sale, which comes on the anniversary of his victory in the Eddie Read Stakes. But trainer Mike Pender said the earner of over $1.5 million, whose co-owner B.J. Wright recently passed away, has been withdrawn.

There will be a new owner seminar and preview of the paddock sale, sponsored by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) held in the Veranda Café near the Del Mar paddock starting at 9:00 am on Sunday.   Contact TOC at 626-574-6620 or at for more information.



The morning training schedule at Del Mar will take on a different look Saturday when the track goes to two renovation breaks and an earlier starting time.

After consultations with trainers and owners, Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins announced the changes.

The track will now open for training at 4:30 a.m. instead of 5. Additionally, the lone renovation break previously scheduled for 7:30 will be replaced by two breaks – the first at 6 a.m. and the second at 8. As before, the track will close for training at 10 a.m.

Turf works will be held on the expanded grass course each Thursday and Sunday at 10 a.m.

The track’s three-and-one-half-furlong training track will continue on its regular schedule – open from 5 to 10 a.m. with a single renovation break at 7 a.m.


Del Mar will begin its free weekend handicapping seminars this weekend with a pair of prognosticators lined up to offer racing fans their insights on the Saturday and Sunday racing cards.

The seminars are held every weekend from 12:45 to 1:30 on the Seaside Terrace near the head of the stretch.

Saturday’s guest handicapper is Sarah Wolfe, the jockey agent for the hot apprentice rider Drayden Van Dyke. The 19-year-old out of Louisville has caught on quite well in Southern California and was the leading rider at the just-concluded Los Alamitos meet.

Sunday’s guest is veteran handicapper Bob Ike, known to many racing fans for his ubiquitous handicapping lines and picks in various publications throughout Southern California.  Ike is into new ventures these days and will share them – and his sections – with Sunday’s crowd. Jon Lindo hosts the Sunday seminars.

CLOSERS – Clubhouse Ride, under consideration for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic, worked five furlongs in :59.60 for trainer Craig Lewis on Friday morning. “He galloped out (to six furlongs) in 1:12 and change, so he looked strong past the wire. It was a very good work,” clocker Toby Terrell said…Other notable works of the 124 Friday morning: She’s A Tiger (3f, :35.80), Batti Man (4f, :50.20), Big Macher (5f, :59.40)…Trainer John Shirreffs, who moved the bulk of his stable to the East Coast last summer, was on the backstretch Friday. Shirreffs, who conditioned Zenyatta and Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo among many standouts, has five horses at Del Mar and expects to have the first starter from them sometime next week … Jockey Tyler Baze is on fatherhood watch. His wife Christina is due to deliver their first child, a girl, within the next two weeks… Tom Whayne, who’ll turn 90 on September 2, experienced his 63rd opening day at Del Mar on Thursday.  “My wife and I both taught school in the Bay Area and it worked out to come down here every summer,” Whayne recalled. “We’d park our trailer at the beach, which you could do in those days.”

Whayne also found work at the track, serving under colorful cafeteria manager/clocker Paul Randolph, and the experience provided material for a novel Whayne would later write.


Friday, July 18, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793