Moudez, winner of the Joseph T. Grace Handicap on the Santa Rosa turf in his first start in more than three years, takes a big leap in the $250,000 Del Mar Mile (gr. IIT) Aug. 28.
Trained by Steve Miyadi for Zayat Stables, Moudez, an Irish-bred 6-year-old son of Xaar, had not been seen since he won Keeneland's Forerunner Stakes on the grass in April 2007. He returned in the 1 1/16-mile Joseph T. Grace at the Sonoma County Fair Aug. 8.
Ridden by Michael Martinez, Moudez rallied from last among six runners in the stretch to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths.
Moudez is one of four entrants in the Del Mar Mile coming into the race off a win. The grass event attracted seven competitors and is the fourth race on the Pacific Classic program with a 2:30 p.m. PDT post.
Patrick Valenzuela gains the ride on Moudez, who has won four of six starts in his career. They'll break from post 3.
Blue Chagall, Bruce's Dream, and Golden Mexico also won their most recent starts. The contentious field also includes former Australian champion Scenic Blast and Enriched, both with impressive efforts at Del Mar this season, and Meteore, winner of last year's La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) over the course.
Blue Chagall, owned by Prestonwood Racing and trained by Julio Canani, captured the one-mile Wickerr Handicap July 28. Canani finally got the stalking trip he wanted for the French-bred Blue Chagall in the Wickerr and he was quick to point to this race for his 5-year-old gelding's next effort.
Four-year-old Bruce's Dream, trained by Mike Puype for Corwin Racing, won the California Dreamin' Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf for state breds July 25. Golden Mexico, trained by John Sadler, won an optional claiming race at Del Mar July 31, ending an eight-race losing streak for the 4-year-old Irish-bred gelding.
Enriched posted third-place finishes in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) and San Diego Handicap (gr. II) on successive weekends, and Scenic Blast was a late-running second in the Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I) at six furlongs on the main track Aug. 1. That was the first time off the turf for the 6-year-old former Aussie star who is now in the John Shirreffs barn. Scenic Blast, strictly a sprinter in his 23-race career, will try the mile distance for the first time as the 121-pound top weight. Scenic Blast has eight wins, six seconds, and two thirds with earnings of $1,450,542.
Meteore, trained by Richard Mandella, has struggled to regain the form he showed last year at 3. The son of Pulpit has not been out since a sixth-place finish in the American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park July 4.
The Del Mar Mile is a "Win and You're In" event for the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs, but most of the field is not nominated.
$250,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 4, 2:30 p.m.), 3 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Blue Chagall (FR), D R Flores, 118, J C Canani
2. Golden Mexico (IRE), V Espinoza, 115, J W Sadler
3. Moudez (IRE), P A Valenzuela, 114, S Miyadi
4. Meteore (KY), R Bejarano, 115, R E Mandella
5. Scenic Blast (AUS), M E Smith, 121, J A Shirreffs
6. Enriched (CA), J Rosario, 119, D F O'Neill
7. Bruce's Dream (CA), G K Gomez, 117, M Puype