DEL MAR NOTEBOOK

There was a slew of graded racing during closing week at Del Mar.   

Hollywood Derby (G1): Glen Hill Farm’s homebred CHIROPRACTOR (Kitten’s Joy) rallied between runners in the lane to score by a head in his stakes debut, posting a 14-1 upset for trainer Tom Proctor. The sophomore gelding finished off 1 1/8 miles on the firm turf oval in 1:48 4/5 under the guidance of Corey Nakatani.

Matriarch S. (G1): Steve Moger’s STORMY LUCY (Stormy Atlantic) found room late and got her head down in time in a wild finish, recording a massive 65-1 upset for trainer Ed Moger, Jr. The six-year-old mare completed a grassy mile in 1:35 under Kent Desormeaux.

Seabiscuit H. (G2): Little Read Feather et al’s MIDNIGHT STORM (Pioneerof the Nile) tracked in second to the top of the lane, took the lead shortly thereafter, and stayed on late to a 1 ¾-length score with Victor Espinoza in the silks. The Phil d’Amato trainee finished off 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf in 1:42 3/5.

Native Diver S. (G3): Kaleem Shah’s DORTMUND (Big Brown) took command nearing midstretch and left little doubt in the stretch, rolling to a 4 ½-length victory for conditioner Bob Baffert. The multiple Grade 1 winner sped nine panels on the fast main oval in 1:48 with Gary Stevens.

Jimmy Durante S. (G3): Glen Hill Farm’s homebred FAMILY MEETING (Sky Mesa) registered a big upset after breaking slowly from her wide post, closing boldly late to secure half-length victory at 37-1 with Drayden Van Dyke. A maiden winner in her previous outing, the two-year-old filly endured one mile on the firm turf course in 1:37 for Proctor.

Cecil B. Demille S. (G3): Budget Stables’ homebred DRESSED IN HERMES (Hat Trick) seized the lead passing midstretch and was clearly best late, posting a 1 ¼-length tally with Smith. The two-year-old gelding, who is trained by Janet Armstrong, got one mile on the firm turf oval in 1:36.

Track Stats

From a total of 35 races held at the seaside racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 31 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 46 percent of the wins. From 20 frays contested on the dirt oval, five animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (25 percent), while one of the 15 grassy tilts was taken all the way on the front end (7 percent).

The main oval appeared to be playing well for speed types by the numbers, but it’s surely worth noting that four of the five wire jobs on the dirt came on Sunday. Closing types had the better part of the strip for the first three days of the race week.

The lone wire-to-wire winner on the turf came on Thursday in a route race.

Meet Totals

Races:

 

171

Dirt:

 

105

Turf:

 

66

Favorites:

 

68 (40%)

2nd Choices:

 

22 (13%)

Turf Wire:

 

11 (17%)

Dirt Wire:

 

29 (28%)

 

 

 

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (11/26)

2ND – TWIRLING TIGER (Twirling Candy) was passed in early stretch but showed a lot of heart, staying on for a runner-up effort in while well clear of his nearest foe. The gelding should be tough right back in his second West Coast run for Kristin Mulhall.

6TH – PATRIOTIC DIAMOND (Hat Trick) responded to the equipment change and drop in class, rolling home powerfully versus allowance foes under Rafael Bejarano. The stakes-winning California-bred always fires and looms large next time versus stakes foes in his second start with blinkers.

Friday (11/27)

6TH – ILLUMINANT (Quality Road) made it two straight, sweeping to the lead in the stretch and staying on well in a 3 ½-length allowance triumph. The Michael McCarthy pupil is in fine form right now and could evolve into a stakes runner with steady improvement.

7TH – MAMA’S SUGAR (Lookin At Lucky) beat what looked like a solid field in a pretty solid time, posting a runaway score for Peter Miller. The juvenile filly surely looked seasoned for a first-time starter and rates as an interesting prospect going forward.

Saturday (11/28)

6TH – STORM COMIN THRU (Stormy Jack) was last to the top of the lane but showed very good late energy in a nice runner-up effort for conditioner Doug O’Neill. The gelding was more than five lengths clear of third and is in fine form at this juncture.

7TH – OFFERING PLAN (Spring At Last) had a tough trip while very wide in this big field but showed a lot of late energy and looks like he could be headed for a fine 2016 campaign for trainer Chad Brown.

Sunday (11/29)

8TH – We really liked RECEPTA (Speightstown) coming into this race and she ran huge, just missing for trainer Jimmy Toner. The filly has evolved into a high-class runner this season and we expect more of the same going forward.