Record 42,842 Attend Del Mar's Opening Program
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 7/19/2007 12:14:02 AM
Last Updated: 7/21/2007 2:21:15 PM
Ten a Penny and Michael Baze take the first division of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day at Del Mar.
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(from Del Mar release)
Before 42,842 -- the largest opening-day crowd in its history -- Del Mar unveiled Polytrack as its new main track racing surface Wednesday while featuring three divisions of the Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile over the grass.
The rare three-division Oceanside -- split due to a record number of entries for the traditional seaside opener -- winners were Ten a Penny ($4.80), Knockout Artist ($40.60) and Vauquelin ($7).
Michael Baze, fresh from winning the riding championship at Hollywood Park, scored his first-ever Del Mar stakes victories when he piloted both Ten a Penny and Knockout Artist, while Victor Espinoza, Del Mar’s champion jockey last summer, was aboard Irish-bred Vaquelin.
Ten a Penny, sent off the favorite in the first division of the Oceanside, won by 1 1/2 lengths over Unusual Suspect, with Bernasconi third. Time for the distance was 1:35.51.
The 20-year-old Baze came back in the second division to engineer the 19-1 upset astride Knockout Artist, who tallied by a head over Medici Code, with Tycoon Doby third in 1:35.45 for the once-around the infield
In the third and final division, Vauquelin came from last to weave through traffic in the stretch and prevail by a length over Yario, with Teeman third in 1:36.78. Mayor Bozarth, the 17-10 favorite in the stretch, broke down in the lane and was later euthanized with a condylar fracture of his left rear pastern and subsequent damage to sesamoids and ligaments.
Espinoza and Corey Nakatani were the riding stars of the afternoon, each winning three races.
The previous attendance record for a Del Mar opening was 42,005 set a year ago, which was also the second highest all-time. The all-time record is 44,181 which turned out for the 1996 Pacific Classic (gr. I) in which the great Cigar was upset by Dare And Go.
"This crowd came early, and I thought it would drop off, but it didn't," said Joe Harper, president of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
"All eyes were on Polytrack and that performed great," Harper said. "We didn't have to worry about the heat in the afternoon, and we were delighted with it."
Charts from Del Mar's opening day
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