Swaps Stakes (gr. II) victor Arson Squad and San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) winner A.P. Warrior both try the grass for the first time in Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds at Del Mar.
Seven were entered for the 1 1/16-mile race over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, a major prep for the $400,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) on Sept. 3.
A.P. Warrior, who finished third in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) before an 18th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and three-time winner Arson Squad will bear co-high weight of 120 pounds. Jay Em Ess Stable's Arson Squad won the 1 1/8-mile Swaps at Hollywood Park by three-quarters of a length over Point Determined July 8, with A.P. Warrior a distant third.
John Shirreffs trains A.P. Warrior and Arson Squad comes out of the Bruce Headley barn.
The major danger to the turf rookies is Porto Santo, who finished a rousing second to Obrigado in the second division of the Oceanside Stakes on the track's opening day July 19. Porto Santo had a rough trip in the one-mile race, but closed from last at the head of the stretch to fall just a head short of the winner in his first race in the United States for trainer Julio Canani.
Get Funky finished third in the first division of the Oceanside, beaten a head for the top prize. Icy Ridge comes out of an 11th-place finish in Arlington Park's American Derby (gr. IIT). Grass specialist Caribbean makes his American debut for Neil Drysdale.$150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. A. P. Warrior (KY), 120, David R. Flores
2. Caribbean (GB), 114, Corey S. Nakatani
3. The Five J's (FL), 116, David Cohen
4. Porto Santo (FR), 118, Norberto Arroyo, Jr.
5. Icy Ridge (IRE), 115, Tyler Baze
6. Get Funky (FL), 116, Martin Garcia
7. Arson Squad (PA), 120, Alex O. Solis