With 18 entrants, Del Mar will kick off its 73rd summer season with split divisions of the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes, the seaside track's traditional opening day feature.
The Oceanside, for 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf, will be contested in split divisions for the first time since 2008. The race is restricted to horses that have not won a sweepstakes of $50,000 this year.
The first of three major grass tests for 3-year-olds on the Del Mar calendar, the Oceanside is followed by the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/16 miles Aug. 11 and the nine-furlong Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Sept. 2.
The first division of the Oceanside, which is the sixth race set for a 4:30 p.m. PDT post, is headed by stakes winners Boat Trip, on a three-race win streak for trainer Michael Pender, Blingo, and Chips All In. The late division is the ninth event on a 10-race program with a 6 p.m. probable post. It features the return to turf of graded stakes winner Majestic City.
TVG will provide exclusive live coverage of opening day at Del Mar as well as the remainder of the 37-day meet. For the first time, TVG will also produce the venue’s simulcast and on-track broadcast in 2012.
Boat Trip, owned by James Hirschmann III and B.J. Wright, won the one-mile Tsunami Slew in his stakes debut as the favorite on the turf at Betfair Hollywood Park June 22. Since being teamed with jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. for a maiden special weight victory in his turf debut March 24, the son of Harlan's Holiday is unbeaten in three starts.
Jerry and Ann Moss' Blingo won the nine-furlong La Puente Stakes on grass April 20 at Santa Anita Park. The son of Artie Schiller returns to the turf following a fifth-place finish in Hollywood's Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) on the Cushion Track June 3. John Shirreffs, who won last year's Oceanside with Mr. Commons, trains Blingo, to be ridden by Mike Smith.
Chips All In, a close fourth in the Tsunami Slew after leading in the stretch, won the Pasadena Stakes at the Oceanside distance by a neck March 23 at Santa Anita. Jeff Mullins conditions the North Light colt.
Trainer John Sadler entered both Koast, making his stakes debut after winning three of his past four races, and recent maiden graduate You Know I Know. Sadler won the 2010 Oceanside with Twirling Candy.
Another to watch is Charles Winner's British-bred Facoltoso, a minor stakes winner in Italy making his initial United States start. He compiled a 4-4-2 mark in 13 starts in Italy. Trainer Simon Callaghan has tabbed Garrett Gomez to ride.
In the later division, David Bloom's Majestic City drew the rail for trainer Peter Miller and will be ridden by David Flores. Winner of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) last summer, Majestic City ran second in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) on Polytrack but was disqualified to third for a bumping incident in deep stretch.
Majestic City, sixth in the Red Legend Stakes in his most recent start June 30 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, has raced twice previously on turf. In last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT), he tired to finish 13th after setting a quick pace. He returned to the grass June 3, running third in a $62,000 allowance at six furlongs at Hollywood.
Gary and Cecil Barber's Stoney Fleece was a game winner of the 1 1/16-mile Alcatraz Stakes over Chips All In at Golden Gate Fields in May. In his most recent start, the one-mile Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate June 9, the Sadler-trained son of Decarchy lost by a neck as the 9-10 favorite.
Sadler also entered Holy Candy, making his stakes debut after finishing a close third in the Affirmed.
Irish-bred Tones defeated Stoney Fleece in the Baffle Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in February, but has lost three in a row since for trainer Doug O'Neill.
Steve Beneto's Longview Drive, third in the Alcatraz for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, tries turf for the second time in his career.
$100,000 Oceanside Stakes-- 1st Division (Race 6, 4:30 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Koast (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, J W Sadler
2. Canuletmedowneasy (FL), E Flores, 119, M Glatt
3. Midnight Crooner (KY), R Bejarano, 121, B Baffert
4. Facoltoso (GB), G K Gomez, 121, S Callaghan
5. Guidopanzini (FL), K Krigger, 117, P Miller
6. Boat Trip (KY), J Valdivia Jr., 121, M Pender
7. You Know I Know (KY), M Garcia, 117, J W Sadler
8. Blingo (KY), M E Smith, 121, J A Shirreffs
9. Chips All In (KY), A Quinonez, 121, J Mullins
$100,000 Oceanside Stakes-- 2nd Division (Race 9, 6 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Majestic City (KY), D R Flores, 119, P Miller
2. Power Foot (KY), E A Maldonado, 117, D A Jackson
3. Paratito (IRE), J Valdivia Jr., 117, F Santella
4. Old Time Hockey (FL), J R Leparoux, 121, T F Proctor
5. My Best Brother (KY), M Garcia, 121, J C Canani
6. Tones (IRE), C S Nakatani, 119, D F O'Neill
7. Stoney Fleece (CA), K Krigger, 123, J W Sadler
8. Longview Drive (KY), J Talamo, 121, J Hollendorfer
9. Holy Candy (KY), G K Gomez, 117, J W Sadler