Campaigning for the first time at Del Mar, jockey Julie Krone had a tremendous meeting in her return from a broken back, capping it Wednesday when she guided B. Wayne Hughes' Siphonizer to an upset triumph in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) on closing day.
"This is so special," Krone said, "to finish up this way. It has been such a wonderful and successful summer for me and to close it out with a win in this race is just the best. "
Krone, who finished second in the jockey standings over the 43-day meeting, also won the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) aboard Candy Ride and the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) on Halfbridled. She piloted Siphonizer to a game, half-length triumph over Minister Eric, Siphonizer's entrymate from the barn of trainer Richard Mandella.
Perfect Moon, winner of the Best Pal Stakes and ridden by leading rider Patrick Valenzuela, was third, two lengths behind the runner-up and a neck in front of Cooperation, the 2-1 favorite under Jerry Bailey. Fifth and a distant last was Gulf of Mexico, second choice in the betting.
Cooperation was seeking to provide trainer Bob Baffert with his eighth consecutive victory in the Futurity.
Siphonizer, a son of Siphon, accomplished the seven furlongs in 1:23 flat while earning $150,000 with his second win in three starts. After impressively breaking his maiden in his first start in early August, the colt was a troubled fifth in the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II).
"My horse didn't have much chance to run in the Best Pal," Mandella said.
Krone may have herself a Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) starter.
"We'll look at the races at Oak Tree," Mandella said. "Right now, I'm pointing for the Norfolk, and it'll either be that and the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile) or just the Breeders' Cup."
Siphonizer broke awkwardly but was rushed up to pace the press pacesetter Gulf of Mexico and David Flores (:22 1/5, :44 2/5) from his inside post position. He pushed his way to the front midway on the turn and continued to inch away from Cooperation and Minister Eric in the stretch. Minister Eric, ridden by Alex Solis, rallied again in deep stretch after taking up and rapidly cut into Siphonizer's lead before running out of time.
"It is so neat to be a part of what the Mandella barn does, especially with their young horses," Krone said. "They school them so well. They teach them all the things they need to know. Inside. Outside. Their horses are ready. This horse thought he was so cool going to the gate today. You could just tell he was ready. It's fun to ride this kind."
Valenzuela said he expected Perfect Moon to improve with two turns.
"He broke well and came running late," he said. "I can't complain. He gave it a good try."
The second-longest shot on the board at 5-1, Siphonizer paid $12.80, $5.40 and $3.20. Minister Eric returned $6 and $3.40. Perfect Moon's Show price was $2.80. A crowd of 16,006 was on hand for the final day.