Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who missed 27 days of the 37-day Del Mar meeting because of multiple facial injuries suffered in an opening-day spill, was off his mounts Sept. 5 following an injury to his right thumb on only the sixth day after his return from the earlier injury.
- By Tom LaMarra
Pari-mutuel handle on United States racing continued its decline in August despite the country's two premier summer meets at Del Mar and Saratoga.
Regardless of how you slice it, the average on-track figures for the 2009 Del Mar meet continue to run ahead of last year as the 37-day stand heads into the final week of action.
Nineteen top-notch runners, including four millionaires and a pair of 3-year-olds, have been nominated to run in Del Mar's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Sept. 6.
The top four finishers of Hollywood Park's July 19 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), including two-length winner Black Astor, return for the Aug. 30 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) in Southern California.
Topics include Rachel Alexandra and Jess Jackson, the continued breakdowns at Del Mar, plus a look at the second season of Animal Planet's hit reality program, JOCKEYS. Watch Video
Tyler Baze, second in the Del Mar rider standings to Joel Rosario, is expected to be out of action for a week as the result of suffering a broken little finger on his left hand. Baze was unseated by his mount, R. Bee Ess, as they went to the gate for the 10th race Aug. 22.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, preparing to return to action soon after being injured in a spill on opening day at Del Mar, showed up a day early on the morning of Aug. 22, to work two horses.
Magical Fantasy earned her third consecutive graded stakes score by coming from off the pace to win the $350,000 John C. Mabee (gr. IT) under Alex Solis Aug. 16 at Del Mar.
Meteore was in last place coming off the far turn with seemingly nowhere to go. But once jockey Alex Solis found room with a sweeping four-wide move it was clear sailing from there, as the son of Pulpit picked up all eight of his rivals en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 15 on the Del Mar turf course.
Tuscan Evening has taken tremendous strides in going from a maiden to a graded stakes winner in just one season, but the 4-year-old filly will now get her stiffest test yet when she faces a solid field of fillies and mares that includes multiple grade I winner Magical Fantasy in the $350,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IT).
Lenny and Steve are back! Topics include night racing, breakdowns at Del Mar, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, Gio Ponti, and Bob Baffert's Hall of Fame induction. Watch Now
Glen Hill Farm's Florida homebred I'll Show Them puts his two-race undefeated record on the line Aug. 15 as he steps up to stakes company in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds on Del Mar's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Jockeys Alex Solis and Aaron Gryder apparently escaped injury at Del Mar Aug. 9 when both were unseated following the backstretch breakdown of a horse in the 10th race.
The first foal out of millionaire Madcap Escapade won a graded stakes in her third start Aug. 7 in the grade III Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar. The filly by Pulpit was sold as a weanling in 2007 for $1.7 million.
Jockeys at Del Mar will be using softer equine friendly riding crops in all races under a "house rule" that will take effect at the track on Aug. 12, the Jockeys' Guild announced.
Colonel John, who had not raced since finishing fourth in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita late last December, exhibited no signs of rust as he scored an impressive victory July 31 in the $91,970 Wickerr Stakes at one mile over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course at Del Mar.
Ten fillies and mares have been nominated for the Aug. 9 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I), the anticipated next start for unbeaten Zenyatta.
- By Tracy Gantz
Six horses have died from catastrophic breakdowns at Del Mar during a 10-day span that includes the first week of racing. Three occurred during morning training on Polytrack, two happened during races on Polytrack, and one was in a turf race.
Del Mar officials announced that figures for the Southern California track's first week of its summer meet was up in both on-track attendance and on-track handle.
The Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable, one of the biggest spenders at the 2008 yearling auctions, got its first winner July 25 when Tiny Woods defeated Sidney's Candy by a head in a maiden special weight race at Del Mar in California. It was Tiny Woods' career debut.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, injured seriously in a spill in the July 22 opening day at Del Mar, has been released from the intensive care unit at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla and placed in a private room, according to Dr. John Agostino, a Del Mar track physician.
"You can call it a midlife crisis or whatever you want, but it's the best thing I've ever done," said pinhooker Murray Smith of her move earlier this year to Southern California from the Ocala area in Central Florida.
Florida pinhooker Randy Hartley is training a string of horses in Southern California, but he will continue to be involved in reselling juveniles purchased as yearlings or weanlings though Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds.
Rafael Bejarano, who sustained serious facial injuries in a spill July 22 during the third race on Del Mar's opening-day program, was reported to be doing well at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla July 23 by his agent, Joe Ferrer.
Del Mar begins its 70th season of racing July 22 with the traditional opening-day feature, the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes, headlining the 10-race card.
Del Mar Fairgrounds is one of several prominent state-owned properties that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes selling to help cut into a $15-billion budget deficit, according to a published report.
The California Horse Racing Board gave its blessing to a Del Mar Thoroughbred Club request reducing the track's 2009 racing schedule by one day per week.
A settlement has apparently been reached over a federal lawsuit involving a controversial California claiming rule, but racetracks in the state are scrambling to deal with the fall-out left from the suspension of the regulation.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Darley have announced a partnership starting in 2009 highlighted by the renaming of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) as the Darley Debutante.
Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker's Corner Oct. 19 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
- By Tom LaMarra
Handle on races in the United States sharply dropped 9.85% in the third quarter of this year, clearly in keeping with a trend that began in early 2008.
Dr. Jock Jocoy, veterinarian to several of the greatest horses in Thoroughbred racing history, including champions Swaps, Ack Ack, Cougar II and Buckpasser, died Sept. 27 at his home in Del Mar after a lengthy illness. The native of New London, Conn., was 82.
Four complaints have been filed against trainer John Sadler by the California Horse Racing Board, alleging that horses in his care ran with excessive amounts of the synthetic anabolic steroid stanozolol in their systems during the month of August at Del Mar, where Sadler was the leading trainer.
Del Mar closed its 69th race meeting Sept. 3 with declines in handle and attendance, but track officials were left with a positive attitude in light of tough economic conditions.
Del Mar's traditional seven-week summer meet could undergo some changes in the next few years, as Hollywood Park heads for development and the entire Southern California racing calendar adjusts.
Dearest Trickski, claimed for $32,000 a little more than a year ago, continued her amazing run toward the top of the filly and mare sprint division, as she broke to an early lead under Mike Smith and held off Tiz Elemental by a nose to win the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) in scintillating fashion Aug. 24 at Del Mar.
Lightly-raced 4-year-old Magnificience was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a contentious field of 10 fillies and mares lining up for the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 24 on the Del Mar Polytrack.
While he's withholding comment, leading trainer John Sadler says that he and his attorney have discussed a shakedown of his Del Mar stable by California Horse Racing Board investigators Aug. 18 and they will respond soon.
A lot is at stake Aug. 24 in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar, which marks not only one of the most prestigious races of the year on the West Coast, but also earns the winner an automatic spot in the Breeders' Cup World Championships Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita Park.
Jockey Omar Berrio was suspended for six months by Del Mar stewards Aug. 13 after he tested positive for cocaine.
McCann's Mojave, fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup, took a step toward the Aug. 24 Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar the morning of Aug. 10 with a sizzling six-furlong move in 1:10.60 at Golden Gate Fields for trainer Steve Specht.
- By Ric Chapman
North American audiences are about to see the very first galloper by Australian sire sensation Redoute's Choice race in their own back yard in an allowance contest at Del Mar Aug. 10.
Sprint champion Midnight Lute appears to be ready for his next start after working faster than the track record for seven furlongs on Del Mar's Polytrack racing surface Aug. 7.
- By Tracy Gantz
Lava Man, a seven-time grade I-winner and earner of $5,268,706, has been retired.
Millennium Farms' Student Council, second in the July 26 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, is preparing to defend his title in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 24 at Del Mar in California.
Bettors poured an additional $3,615,779 into the Del Mar Pick Six July 27, creating a record pool of $5,177,766 for the multi-race wager at the seaside track.
- By Ryan Conley
Wagering has dropped 11% on North American Thoroughbred racing since the end of the Triple Crown series -- at least by one indicator -- a disturbing trend that can likely be attributed to a variety of factors.
There's a good chance Lava Man may have raced for the last time in the July 20 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar.
Water, designed to keep Del Mar's Polytrack more consistent from morning to afternoon, also led to three track records opening day, July 16, at the Southern California track. The five races carded over the synthetic surface were run at four different distances, with new marks set at 5 1/2 furlongs, six furlongs and a mile.
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