Eight 3-year-old fillies with visions of the Del Mar Oaks dancing in their heads will be heading for the starting gate on Sunday for the 33rd running of the grade II, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap.
Led by defending champion Skimming, Dubai World Cup winner Captain Steve and Hollywood Gold Cup top finisher Futural, the field of seven drawn for Sunday's grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap could prove to be one of the best in the 60 runnings of the historic race.
Tiznow, trying to regain the form that made him 2000 Horse of the Year, turned in a sizzling five-furlong workout Thursday caught by clockers in 59 1/5. Chris McCarron, injured during a spill in New York last week, nevertheless was aboard the son of Cee's Tizzy for the spin around the Del Mar oval.
Seven hard-hitting turf horses, headed by millionaire Native Desert and millionaire-in-waiting Irish Prize and including a pair trained by Robert Frankel, are set to go in Saturday's 28th running of the grade I, $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on Del Mar's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum's Irish Prize, trained by Neil Drysdale and winner of three straight graded stakes, will carry top weight of 122 pounds as he heads a potential field of perhaps six for Saturday's grade I, $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap. For raw excitement, Sunday's grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap could rival last Sunday's Bing Crosby showdown between Kona Gold and Caller One.
In a much-anticipated showdown, Kona Gold defeats Caller One in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Champion sprinter Kona Gold scored his second consecutive Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Sunday at Del Mar, defeating Caller One by three-quarter lengths in the $196,000 race. The win extends Kona Gold's current winning streak to seven races.
A rash of longshot winners at Del Mar Saturday created a pick six carryover of $219,478 heading into Sunday's card at the seaside track. The carryover marks the third straight Saturday the pick six has not been hit at a Southern California track.
Red Baron's Barn LLC's Janet utilized a ground-saving trip under jockey David Flores to earn a half-length win over 3-5 favorite Tranquility Lake in Saturday's $400,000 Ramona Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar.
Tiznow clocked a sharp :48.60 for four furlongs Friday morning over Del Mar's main track in his preparation that trainer Jay Robbins hopes will lead to a run in the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile on Sunday, September 2.
Headed by Eclipse Award sprinter Kona Gold, a field of six swifties was entered Friday morning for Sunday's 56th running of the grade II, $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at 6 furlongs on the main track.
Saratoga will offer full-card simulcasting for the first time in its 133-year history. Patrons will be able to wager on all the races from Monmouth Park when Saratoga's 36-day meet starts July 25.
Multiple graded-stakes winner Tranquility Lake will be the one to beat when the gates spring open for Saturday's 44th edition of the grade I, $400,000 Ramona Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on Del Mar's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
The 33,526 fans who showed up for opening day at Del Mar got a little bit of everything Wednesday, including a Pick 6 payoff of more than $151,000 and a longshot win in one of the co-featured races.
The 43-day meet, which this year begins Wednesday, July 18, is often considered the jewel of California racing. One of the selling points of Del Mar is that it's nestled along the coastline with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. But management said atmosphere really hasn't been enough to lure big crowds.
Del Mar's 2001 meet opens Wednesday with the Oceanside Stakes serving as the opening-day feature. A profusion of entrants for the one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds led the track to split the race into two divisions.
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The renovation, which included the planting of an acre of new sod in the homestretch, marked the first extensive repair of the course since the turns were banked in 1986. The course is named the Jimmy Durante Turf
Course in honor of the entertainer who was a regular at the track for many years.
The renovation, which included the planting of an acre of new sod in the homestretch, marked the first extensive repair of the course since the turns were banked in 1986. The course is named the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in honor of the entertainer who was a regular at the track for many years.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's premier event -- the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic -- once again will be televised by ESPN when it is presented for the 11th time at the shore track on Sunday, August 19.
Del Mar will offer more than $6 million in stakes money when the San Diego-area track hosts its 62nd summer season of racing. The 43-day meeting opens July 18 and runs through Sept. 5. Highlight of the meeting will be the $1-million Pacific Classic, one of five grade I races scheduled at Del Mar.
California tracks will have their backstretch housing inspected if they want a license to conduct a horse racing meeting from the California Horse Racing Board. The state's racing board is nearing completion of an amendment to its license application that would require tracks to pass the inspection before the meet is approved. The new regulation is primarily due to a sweep last summer by state inspectors who found backstretch workers often live in substandard conditions.
The three major tracks in Southern California have acknowledged a need for backup generators in light of the possibility of power blackouts, but Hollywood Park is prepared to invest $4 million in equipment to ensure the facility doesn't go dark. Rolling blackouts brought on the by the state's energy crisis forced Los Alamitos to switch to afternoon racing for a couple of programs last week.
Gary Stevens returns to the saddle Wednesday, when he is named to ride four mounts on opening day of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet. Stevens retired after riding mounts on Dec. 26, opening day of the last meet at Santa Anita, due to degenerative arthritis in his right knee.
Despite a 7% downturn, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club reported that its combined on-track and satellite average daily attendance of 27,960 was the best among U.S. tracks.
By Morton Cathro -- Regardless of size, location, or caliber of horses, racetracks long have served as a microcosm of society, holding up a mirror to humankind.
Walkslikeaduck rallied in the stretch to win the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) by 2 1/2 lengths Sunday at Del Mar. With Eddie Delahoussaye in the irons, the Patrick Gallagher trainee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.66 while racing over firm turf. The time equals the course record of 1:46 3/5 set when 5-year-old Al Mamoon won the 1986 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IIT).
Caffe Latte rallied through the stretch down the center of the Del Mar turf course to win Saturday's $400,000 Ramona Handicap (gr. IT) by 1 1/4 lengths over Tout Charmant in stakes record time of 1:47.16, just 2/5 of a second off the course record.
La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner Purely Cozzene and runner-up Duke of Green will renew their rivalry in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Sunday at Del Mar. The 1 1/8-mile turf race drew a field of 10 3-year-olds.
Last year's champion 2-year-old filly Chilukki worked five furlongs at Del Mar on Friday as she prepares for her next likely start, the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. II). Flame Thrower, Riboletta, and Super Quercus also worked at Del Mar on Friday.
The original eight-horse field for Saturday's $400,000 Ramona Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar has been reduced to seven with the scratch of Juddmonte Farm's Spanish Fern.
Tranquility Lake will miss Saturday's Ramona Handicap (gr. IT) due to a fever. The 5-year-old mare was expected to be the favorite and highweight for the nine-furlong race at Del Mar, but she apparently suffered a spider bite and became ill.
Northern Quest rallied from last to win the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) by 1 1/2 lengths Monday at Del Mar. Under jockey Chris McCarron, Northern Quest completed the 1 3/8 miles in stakes-record time of 2:12.65, just 1/5 of a second off the track record.
El Corredor won his stakes debut Sunday at Del Mar, winning the $245,600 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) by 2 1/2 lengths over Cliquot.
Elizabeth and Tom Baxter's Cindy's Hero charged along the rail while rounding the turn to move into contention, was swung out for racing room approaching the stretch by jockey Garrett Gomez, and closed gamely though the stretch to earn her first career win in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) Saturday at Del Mar.
Trainer Bob Baffert has saddled four of the last five Del Mar Debutante winners and sends out two of the six 2-year-old fillies entered in this year's renewal of the $250,000 grade I race.
A five- to seven-horse field is expected for Del Mar's Sunday co-feature, the $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II).
Lemon Drop Kid continued preparing for the $500,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I), completing a six-furlong drill over the main track in 1:13 1/5, handily, at Saratoga on Thursday. At Del Mar, Early Pioneer worked a mile in 1:39 2/5, handily.
Augustin Stable's No Matter What split horses to surge to the lead and then held off Theoretically in deep stretch as horses making their North American racing debuts filled the top three finishing positions in the $250,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) Sunday at Del Mar.
Jockey Corey Nakatani was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital for X-rays Saturday after his mount, Candace in Paris, clipped heels with Elderberry turning into the stretch and fell. Nakatani suffered a fractured left clavicle in the spill.
Skimming made all the pace before kicking clear of Tiznow and General Challenge at the top of the stretch to win the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) by two lengths Saturday at Del Mar.
Theresa's Tizzy rushed to the early lead under Laffit Pincay Jr., dueled with Hookedonthefeelin after that rival assumed a narrow lead, regained the lead in the stretch, and held off the late rush of Nany's Sweep to win the $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) by a neck.
Nine sophomore fillies, including Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan's Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) winner Kumari Continent, are entered to run in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) Sunday at Del Mar.
Three-year-old Tiznow drilled four furlongs at Del Mar Wednesday morning and then drew post position four for Saturday's $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I).
Gary M. Garber's Flame Thrower contested the early pace while four wide on the backstretch before displaying a burst of speed into the turn en route to a 2 3/4-length victory over fellow 2-year-olds in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes Wednesday at Del Mar.
Under jockey Corey Nakatani, 8-5 favorite Love That Red used an inside stalking trip to win the $150,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II) Sunday at Del Mar.
Joe Garcia Jr. trainee Squirtle Squirt will put his four-race winning streak on the line when he takes on six other 2-year-olds in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. III) Wednesday at Del Mar.
Over firm turf, Purely Cozzene led at every call of the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Del Mar, completing the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:41.50 under David Flores.
Trainer Vladimir Cerin declared Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Early Pioneer out of the Aug. 26 Pacific Classic (gr. I).
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