Jeranimo earned his Breeders' Cup invite Nov. 3 with a sharp late-running score in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Betfair Hollywood Park June 30. At this point, trainer Michael Pender wants to keep owner B.J. Wright's 6-year-old son of Congaree fit and happy.
The Del Mar Mile supports the Pacific Classic (gr. I) Sunday program. It goes as the seventh race on the Del Mar program with a projected post time of 4:05 p.m. PDT.
Jeranimo, a four-time grade II winner, broke through with his grade I tally in the Shoemaker, rallying down the center of the Hollywood Park turf course from last in the eight-horse field to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths. He was clocked in 1:33.97 while winning for the first time since taking the Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) last November at Hollywood Park.
Garrett Gomez, who rode Jeranimo to victory in both of those races, is once again atop the 123-pound high weight. They will break from post 4.
The versatile Jeranimo surpassed $1 million in career earnings with the Shoemaker win, his eighth victory to go with 10 placings from 28 starts, half of which have been on grass. In Jeranimo's only prior race on the Del Mar lawn, he ran second to champion older male Acclamation in last year's Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT).
His major obstacle figures to be Mr. Commons, who as a 3-year-old last season was nosed in the Del Mar Mile by Caracortado in his first attempt against older horses. The St. George Farm homebred won the Oceanside Stakes to kick off the 2011 Del Mar meet.
Mr. Commons, a son of Artie Schiller trained by John Shirreffs, also attempted to come from off the pace in the Shoemaker. However, he did not display his usually outstanding late lick and settled for fourth, two lengths behind Jeranimo.
The multiple grade II winner also ran in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile, finishing fifth. He has one victory in four starts in 2012, the win coming in the Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita in February.
Brice Blanc gets the call on Mr. Commons, replacing regular rider Mike Smith, who is riding Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. IT) at Saratoga Race Course Sunday. Mr. Commons will carry 121 in the Del Mar Mile and break from post 3.
Six-year-old Norvsky, a grade II winner trained by Donald Warren, captured the California Dreamin' Handicap over state-bred rivals at 1 1/16 miles on grass July 22 at Del Mar.
The Irish-bred Obviously, from the Mike Mitchell stable, won an allowance optional claiming event Aug. 12 in front-running fashion by five lengths on the course at one mile.
The Kristin Mulhall-trained Tale of a Champion tries graded-stakes company for the first time. The 4-year-old Tale of the Cat colt invades from Florida, where he came from off the pace to win the five-frulong Turf Sprint Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course July 7.
$200,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 7, 4:05 p.m.), 3 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Tale of a Champion (KY), J Rosario, 115, K Mulhall
2. Calimonco (KY), V Espinoza, 119, J W Sadler
3. Mr. Commons (KY), B Blanc, 121, J A Shirreffs
4. Jeranimo (FL), G K Gomez, 123, M Pender
5. Norvsky (CA), R Bejarano, 120, D Warren
6. Obviously (IRE), J Talamo, 118, M R Mitchell