Prospect Park faces 9 in the La Jolla Handicap.

Prospect Park faces 9 in the La Jolla Handicap.

Benoit Photo

Dirt Runners Try Turf in La Jolla Handicap

Well-regarded dirt prospects are heading to the turf for grade III test.

With a relatively low number of 3-year-old dirt stakes available during Del Mar’s summer meeting, a group of well-regarded dirt prospects are heading to the turf for the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) Aug. 9.

Pam and Martin Wygod's Prospect Park and Black Gold Racing's Pain and Misery both enter out of the Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) last time out, when they finished second and fifth, respectively. Pain and Misery was more than 20 lengths back of winner Gimme Da Lute in the Los Alamitos Derby, but Prospect Park had a tough-luck nose loss.

BALAN: Gimme Da Lute Holds On in Los Alamitos Derby

The La Jolla will be the first turf start for Prospect Park, a former Kentucky Derby hopeful and son of Tapit  out of the Bertrando mare Quiet Romance. He's been working on Del Mar's grass to prepare. His first turf workout of his career was a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 July 26 and he followed with another five-furlong drill in 1:02 4/5 Aug. 2.

"His dam was a Bertrando and they can run on everything," trainer Cliff Sise said of Prospect Park. "The first (turf workout) was super fast. That's like going :58 flat (on dirt). He got over it good and the jockey said he handled it same as dirt."

K.B. Sareen's Omknown for being the only horse to win a race American Pharoah  also startedalso exits a dirt stakes in the June 7 Affirmed (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park, where he was third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Prospect Park. He was a standout winner, however, in his turf debut May 10 at Santa Anita. In that mile grass race, Om defeated fellow La Jolla entrant Royal Albert Hall, who was 2 1/4 lengths back in second.

BALAN: 'Pharoah' Upsetter Om Eyes Next Start

"It'll be a tough race, but hopefully we'll come back and run well," Om's trainer, Dan Hendricks, said of the La Jolla. "As long as he runs third or better, we'll be happy."

Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Illinois Derby (gr. III) runner Cross the Line also will make his turf debut in the 1 1/16-mile La Jolla, coming off a fourth place finish in a mile allowance optional claimer on the Santa Anita dirt June 25. The Line of David colt covered five furlongs on the Del Mar turf in 1:01 3/5 July 30 in a drill for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Proven turf stakes winner Papacoolpapacool will take on the dirt converts, but has missed the board in his last two startsthe Penn Mile (gr. IIIT) May 30 and Oceanside Stakes July 16after winning two consecutive grass stakes at Santa Anita earlier in the year.

Stakes-placed Hero Ten All and maiden winners Tried and True, Over Par, and Pretentious complete the field.

Entries: La Jolla H. (G3T)

Del Mar, Sunday, August 09, 2015, Race 8

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:40 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Tried and True (KY)Martin A. Pedroza116Eoin G. Harty-
22Hero Ten All (KY)Tyler Baze116Jeff Mullins-
33Om (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFernando Hernandez Perez120Dan L. Hendricks-
44Over Par (CA)Mario Gutierrez115Doug F. O'Neill-
55Cross the Line (KY)Rafael Bejarano117Jerry Hollendorfer-
66Papacoolpapacool (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGary L. Stevens121Philip D'Amato-
77Pain and Misery (KY)Martin Garcia118Henry Dominguez-
88Pretentious (KY)Santiago Gonzalez116James M. Cassidy-
99Prospect Park (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux121Clifford W. Sise, Jr.-
1010Royal Albert Hall (GB)Flavien Prat117Doug F. O'Neill-