Enriched Rises to Occasion in Del Mar Mile
Front-running Enriched proved a determined winner in the $190,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO), refusing to yield to challenger Meteore in the stretch run to post a three-quarters of a length victory Aug. 28.
Meteore, third for a half-mile, made his bid at the quarter pole and challenged on the outside for Rafael Bejarano as they reached the homestretch. But they could not get past Enriched, who inched away along the inside to hold on gamely under urging from Rosario.
"I rode him with confidence, a lot of confidence," said Rosario, who won his third consecutive race on the program with Enriched. "I've ridden this horse before and I know how good he is. He broke really well today and I wasn't going to hold him back. He was just going along there easy and I let him go.
"I had to force the issue or the leader was just going to walk home," Bejarano said of Meteore. "If my horse had something to run at, different story."
Gomez blamed himself for Bruce's Dream's problems.
"I told him (trainer Mike Puype) that this one was on me," Gomez said. "When Bejarano's horse (Meteore) came up outside, I could have gone with my horse. And the way it turned out, I wished I would have. But I sat down in there and waited. I thought he'd fire and we'd be all right. But the leader just had it too easy. If I'd have ridden him like a regular horse, we might have won this thing. But I waited and it probably cost us."
A total of $60,000 from the original purse reverted to the Breeders' Cup fund.
Enriched was claimed for $32,000 Nov. 1, 2009 at Santa Anita. His half-brother, Lava Man, was also claimed (by trainer O'Neill), though he was claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar in 2004. Since being claimed, Enriched has run 12 times with three victories and earnings of $340,676.
Lava Man ranks as the greatest claim in Thoroughbred racing history, winning $5,170,103 after switching barns.
Golden Mexico was scratched.
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