T.H. Approval, a two-time winner of the San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT), heads a field of 10 Sunday in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 3/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. Trainer Eduardo Inda, who has a five-horse stable currently, has eight stakes wins to his credit at Del Mar, but none since 2002. His last year of real prominence at the seaside track came in 2000 when his super mare, Riboletta, scored a resounding victory in the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) on her way to winning the Eclipse Award as North America's top older female.The 120-pound high weight, T.H. Approval, with two wins and two seconds in five starts and earnings of $319,420 on the year, comes to Sunday's race from a 1 1/2-length score in Hollywood Park's Sunset Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) July 16. His earlier win came in his second conquest of Santa Anita's San Juan Capistrano.His two seconds came in the San Luis Rey and San Luis Obispo handicaps, a pair of grade II events at Santa Anita during the winter-spring meet. His only loss of the year came at the hands of Lava Man, who has won four grade I races this year, including the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Del Mar's Pacific Classic this past Sunday."After he won the Sunset," Inda said, "I've been waiting for this race. The time in between is just perfect. He likes to run every month to month and a half. I like the distance, but a mile and a half would be better."Of T.H. Approval, a son of With Approval owned by Tadahiro Hotehama, Inda said, "This is the horse that gets me up every morning. He's the only real good one I have right now, and I'm lucky to have him. The owner has always been good to me."Inda's association with Hotehama, a Japanese businessman who at one time was the head of the Japan Racing Association, goes back to his time as a long-time assistant to Ron McAnally and includes the horse Johann Quatz, who finished second in Barathea in the 1994 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT)."He doesn't have that many horses anymore," Inda said.
T.H. Approval could go favored Sunday despite the fact he is in winless in two races at Del Mar.$250,000 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Cheroot (CA), 114, Martin A. Pedroza
2. Indiantown Jones (KY), 111, Jorge F. Chavez
3. Runaway Dancer (KY), 118, Victor Espinoza
4. Quinquin the King (FR), 117, Corey S. Nakatani
5. Mighty Mysterious (KY), 109, Michael C. Baze
6. Symphony Sid (KY), 110, Martin Garcia
7. Paraquedista (BRZ), 109, Norberto Arroyo, Jr.
8. Artiste Royal (IRE), 116, David R. Flores
9. Super Strut (CA), 115, Tyler Baze
10. T. H. Approval (KY), 120, Alex O. Solis