Perfect Moon Shines Over Borrego in El Cajon

Royce S. Jaime's Perfect Moon, who last summer won the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) and then was third to Siphonizer in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), cruised to a decisive 4 1/2-length victory Friday night in the $79,550 El Cajon Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Perfect Moon, ridden by Corey Nakatani and sent off at generous 6-1odds in the one-mile event, upset Borrego, the 4-5 favorite who was making his first start since the Triple Crown campaign.

Making his first start since finishing ninth in the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in late March and then undergoing surgery to have a chip removed from a knee, Perfect Moon was in full control through the stretch run.

Borrego, with leading rider Tyler Baze aboard, ran well through the stretch to be second after tracking the pace, finishing three lengths in front of Courageous Act.

Borrego had been out of action since the Preakness (gr. I) May 15. Earlier this year, he had finished second in Santa Anita's Sham Stakes, the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds and the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. The El Prado colt finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Smarty Jones at Oaklawn before a 10th place showing in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He was seventh in the Preakness.

Perfect Moon, a son of Malibu Moon  trained by Doug O'Neill, ran the distance in 1:35 flat and as fourth choice in the betting. It was his fourth win in 14 career races and first money of $47,730 increased his total earnings to $421,600.

For Nakatani, the victory was his 48th of the summer, only one less than Baze heading into the final four days of the 43-day Del Mar race meeting.

O'Neill, who is seeking his first Del Mar training championship, won his meet-leading 25th race, two more than Jeff Mullins.

Perfect Moon paid $15.60, $5 and $3.20. Borrego returned $2.80 and $2.80. Courageous Act paid $2.80 to show.

With no perfect tickets in the Pick Six today, there will be a carryover of $150,826 for Saturday's program.

(Chart, Equibase)