Spendthrift Farm's Temple City took advantage of an ideal set-up, going wire-to-wire under Joe Talamo to win the $125,000 Cougar II Handicap (gr. III) on Del Mar's Polytrack July 30 (VIDEO) .
As expected, Temple City, the second choice in the wagering at 6-5, went to the front almost immediately after the break, set easy fractions, and was never seriously threatened in winning by 3 1/4 lengths. The son of Dynaformer set a track record in the process, running the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2:30.46 to eclipse the mark of 2.30.53 set in the 2008 running of the Cougar by Zappa.
“He was just so relaxed today; going around there so easy,” Talamo said. “He's got such a big, fluid stride on him. When they came to him (on the turn for him) he just kicked away. I asked him and he was gone.”
Not only did Temple City earn first money of $75,000 with his fourth victory in a dozen starts, the 5-year-old horse also clinched a spot in the Breeders' Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 as part of the Breeders' Cup's “Win and You're In” program.
Temple City, lightly weighted at 114 pounds, returned $4.40, $3.60, and $2.10. He is conditioned by Carla Gaines. Unusual Suspect, with Corey Nakatani , paid $3.80 and $2.20, while Richard's Kid, piloted by Martin Garcia, returned $2.10 to show.
Gaines, who trained three winners on the card, said Temple City is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup.
Earlier on the Del Mar card, jockey Patrick Valenzuela, reinstated to compete in California after an absence of 2 1/2 years, won his first race since his return, guiding Warren's Jitterbug to victory in the sixth race.