Debutante Win Gives Espinoza Del Mar Record

Debutante Win Gives Espinoza Del Mar Record
Photo: Benoit
Victor Espinoza celebrates a new Del Mar record seventh trip to the winner's circle.
Jockey Victor Espinoza set a Del Mar record with seven victories Monday when favored Point Ashley proved a handy winner in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I).

After stalking five or six lengths off a sizzling early pace, Point Ashley bid three wide coming off the turn in the seven-furlong race. She gained the lead early in the stretch and won by 2 1/2 lengths despite drifting with some urging by Espinoza. The time was 1:23 1/5.

Espinoza, who has held a commanding lead in the 2006 Del Mar riding standings for the past couple of weeks, broke the record for most wins on a single day at Del Mar set by Bill Shoemaker (Sept. 4, 1954) and matched by Rudy Rosales (Sept. 6, 1969) and Laffit Pincay Jr. twice (July 28, 1976 and July 29, 1978). Espinoza also tied the Del Mar record for consecutive wins with seven (including a victory in the nightcap Sunday) set by Shoemaker 52 years ago.

"Unbelievable, unbelievable," said Espinoza, a 34-year-old native of Mexico. "Today is a day I won't ever forget."

Point Ashley, a 2-year-old daughter of Point Given  --Golden Thatch (Slew o' Gold) broke her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths on July 23 and has been quite impressive in her last two starts for trainer Bob Baffert. She ran without blinkers for the first time Monday.

Sorrento (gr. III) victor Untouched Talent, the only graded stakes winner in the field, rallied between foes for David Flores and got up by a nose for second over 20-1 shot She's Included and Alex Solis. It was another nose back to fourth-place finisher Outofthepast.

Second choice Jump On In was unable to resist challenging the runaway pacesetter Mistical Plan, who bolted away from her rail post to post a sizzling :21 1/5 opening quarter mile and a :44 half. She bid for the lead coming off the turn and led briefly before weakening in the final furlong after battling with the winner. Jump On In finished fifth.

Fillie by the Bay, Nushka Babee and Mistical Plan trailed.

Point Ashley, a $725,000 Keeneland April sale purchase, was third in her debut at Hollywood Park July 3. She earned $150,000 for owner Zayat Stables LLC, pushing her overall total to $187,200. Mr. And Mrs. G. David Shashura and The Thoroughbred Corp. bred her in Kentucky.

The 8-5 choice paid $5.20, $3.20 and $2.80. Untouched Talent returned $3.60 and $3. She's Included was $4.80 to show.

Espinoza won the first six races on the card, finished third in the seventh and won the eighth, the Debutante. The first six winners were, in order, Spot the Diplomat ($2.20 in the I'm Smokin' Stakes), Specific Rule ($3.60), Preachinatthebar ($6.80 in the Windy Sands Handicap), Dream's ($8.40), Swiss Ski ($5.60) and Malt Magic ($5.20).

"When I started riding, I said I wanted to win the Kentucky Derby and do something like this -- win a whole bunch of races at a track in one day," Espinoza said. "To do it at Del Mar -- and in a race like this -- this is very, very special. The people behind me -- my agent, the horsemen who give me such great horses and the fans here -- all make this special."

Earlier, Spot the Diplomat won the $106,400 I'm Smokin Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths over Street Lights.

Espinoza and Spot the Diplomat covered six furlongs in 1:10.56 and paid $2.20 and $2.10. Entry mate Street Lights finished second, while Zoning In was third. There was no show wagering because of the five-horse field.

The Del Mar meeting ends Wednesday.

(Chart, Equibase)

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