El Roblar Faces Crisp 'Wisp in La Jolla 'Cap

(from Del Mar notes)
Stakes winners El Roblar and Willow O Wisp head a field of seven 3-year-olds who will contest Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/16 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

The La Jolla is the second race in Del Mar's turf series for 3-year-olds. The $400,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) at nine furlongs is Sept. 5.

Trained by Richard Mandella, El Roblar captured a division of Del Mar's opening-day feature, the Oceanside Stakes, keeping him undefeated in three starts. Victor Espinoza takes over the mount from Alex Solis.

The Team Valor-owned Italian-bred Becrux, who won the second division of the Oceanside July 20 for trainer Neil Drysdale, wasn't entered in the La Jolla.

Willow O Wisp, assigned top weight of 121 pounds – one more than El Roblar – wasn't eligible to run in the Oceanside because of his victory in Hollywood Park's Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) June 26. While he's had plenty of time off, the gelded son of Misnomer has put in two solid works at the seashore for trainer Vladimir Cerin, sharpening up with a bullet 1:00 3/5 for five furlongs on the turf July 31 and 1:14 3/5 for six panels Saturday.

Willow O Wisp defeated odds-on choice Osidy by two lengths in front-running style in the Cinema after losing by a head to that one in the Will Rogers (gr. IIIT), also on the Hollywood turf.

Back for another crack at the unbeaten El Roblar are the runner-up and third-place finisher behind him in the Oceanside – In Excelsis and Juliesugardaddy.

$150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. In Excelsis, 119, David Flores
2. Juliesugardaddy, 119, Alex Bisono
3. El Roblar, 120, Victor Espinoza
4. Willow O Wisp, 121, Garrett Gomez
5. Stedfast McStaunch, 114, Jon Court
6. Boggy Creek, 116, Rene Douglas
7. Steal Your Thunder, 115, Tyler Baze