Blackdoun Raises Del Mar Curtain With Stakes Mark

(from Del Mar report)
Naify and Woodside Farms' Blackdoun, a French-bred colt making his American debut, set a stakes record of 1:33 2/5 for the mile on the Del Mar grass Wednesday for an impressive triumph in the featured second division of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day of Del Mar's summer racing season.

A crowd of 39,346, third highest all-time at Del Mar and the largest to attend a day of racing in California this year, saw Blackdoun and jockey Corey Nakatani win by 2 1/2 lengths, overshadowing the winning performance of Wild Babe in the first division of the traditional first-day stakes event for three-year-olds.

Blackdoun, a son of Verglas trained by Julio Canani, lagged near the back of the pack in the early stages, put in a powerful run in the stretch and then drew out in the final furlong with ease.

Terroplane, the narrow 9-5 favorite over the winner, was a clear second, two lengths in front of Lucky Pulpit.

Blackdoun returned $6 while earning $51,270 from a total purse of $85,450 after his fourth victory in a dozen career starts. The previous stakes record for the Oceanside was 1:33 4/5 by Sweet Return, also ridden by Nakatani, a year ago.

(Chart, Equibase)

Wild Babe, piloted by David Flores, led from start to finish in winning the first division by a neck over Semi Lost, with Hippocrates third. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams and conditioned by Jerry Dutton, was timed in 1:34 2/5 and paid $18.60 while earning $51,570 from a gross purse of $85,950.

Wild Babe, a son of Wild Again bred in Kentucky, recorded his third win in ten outings.

The on-track crowd of 39,346 was the second best for an opening day and the third best overall. Tops among opening days came in 2003 when 40,682 went through the gates. The all-time record crowd belongs to August 10, 1996, when 44,181 fans turned out to see Cigar attempt to establish a record victory streak in the Pacific Classic (gr. I).

The total mutuel handle Wednesday was $14,594,173.90. The 2003 total handle on opening day was $14,243,849.

(Chart, Equibase)