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Seven Routers Tangle In 74th Del Mar Handicap

Seven distance-loving older Thoroughbreds will tangle in the most storied event in the colorful history of Del Mar, the Grade II $200,000 Del Mar Handicap, which will have its 74th running Saturday.

Inaugurated in 1937 in the first year of the track’s existence, the Del Mar Handicap has showcased a multitude of outstanding Thoroughbreds since Sally’s Booter won the first running under jockey Tim Sena. Winners have included Arrogate, Mr. Consistency, Viking Spirit, Native Diver, Figonero, Ancient Title, Go West Young Man, Precisionist, Northern Quest, After Market and Spring House.

Heading the field and the 5-2 morning line favorite in the 2013 Del Mar Handicap at a mile and three-eighths over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course is Hronis Racing’s Irish-bred Vagabond Shoes, fresh from a bang-up second to Jeranimo in the Grade Eddie Read Stakes July 20. Victor Espinoza has the call from trainer John Sadler on Vagabond Shoes who will pack highweight of 119 pounds.

Others in the line-up are French-bred Lucayan, 118 and Garrett Gomez; Brazilian-bred Holding Glory, 116 and Chantal Sutherland-Kruse; Mr T Bird, 115 and Rafael Bejarano; Old Time Hockey, 118 and Gary Stevens, and Huntsville, 114 and Corey Nakatani. Holding Glory is also entered in Sunday’s Grade I $1 million TVG Pacific Classic.

The Del Mar Handicap is another in the Breeders’ Cup’s “Win and You’re In” series of races in which the winner earns an expense-free automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November at Santa Anita.