Del Mar Notebook - July 28

July 28th, 2015

A trio of graded races headlined the second week at Del Mar Race Course.

Bing Crosby S. (G1): Smith, Green and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s WILD DUDE (Wildcat Heir) closed with a huge rush to run down the 1-5 favorite in the lane and take this race by a 1 1/4 lengths under Flavien Prat. The five-year-old stopped the teletimer in 1:09 2/5 for six panels on the fast main strip.

San Diego H. (G2): Haras Santa Maria de Araras’ CATCH A FLIGHT (Arg) (Giant’s Causeway) came outside for the stretch run and bravely got up a few strides before the wire to post a head decision beneath Gary Stevens. The Richard Mandella trainee endured 1 1/16 miles on the fast main oval in 1:43.

Cougar II H. (G3): Michael House’s BIG JOHN B (Hard Spun) saved ground throughout and rallied last to first in the 1 ½-mile main track feature, scoring by a half-length with Rafael Bejarano. A turf winner in his previous outing, and hero of last year’s grassy Del Mar H. (G2), the Phil d’Amato trainee had been unplaced in his three previous dirt starts.

Track Stats

From a total of 44 races held at the Southern California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 30 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 41 percent of the wins. From 30 frays contested on the dirt oval, five animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (17 percent), while four of the 14 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (29 percent).

Speed was not of advantage for most of the week on either surface, until Sunday. Overall on the dirt, four of the five wire-to-wire winners came on the weekend. In addition, three of the four winners who broke from the rail for the week came on Sunday.

Turf pace was better over the weekend for sure, with three of the six routes on the lawn being taken with the winner leading at every call. We still prefer speed in the turf sprint runs for sure, as we did last season.

Meet Totals












26 (32 percent)

2nd Choices:


12 (15 percent)

Turf Wire:


4 (18 percent)

Dirt Wire:


10 (17 percent)


Wednesday (7/22)

3RD – HEIR OF STORM (Wildcat Heir) was always in the mix and pulled clear in the lane in posting a very strong allowance tally over a fine group for conditioner Peter Miller. The five-year-old gelding will likely be stakes bound after this one.

4TH – The Bob Hess-trained GYPSY’S RULE (Tribal Rule) got within range at the top of the lane and roared home a very impressive debut winner under Kent Desormeaux. The juvenile filly didn’t run that fast and may have topped a weak field, but she looked good in doing so and could be a decent one.

6TH – SAVINGS ACCOUNT (Medaglia d’Oro) made a big move entering the stretch and finished best to get the win for conditioner Tom Proctor. The four-year-old filly has been vastly improved since the surface switch and looks like a stakes-type for sure.

Thursday (7/23)

5TH – PEGGY SUE’S LOOSE (Benchmark) was stuck behind a slow early pace but came home in fine fashion to be fourth in her first run in more than a year. We’ll tab the five-year-old mare a big player next time on this lawn with any kind of improvement second off the layoff.

Friday (7/24)

6TH – BIG JOHN B (Hard Spun) has now come home first in two straight and appears to be getting back to his best form. The gelding displayed outstanding versatility and while he could be headed back to the lawn for a Del Mar H. title defense next time, d’Amato held out the possibility of going for the Pacific Classic (G1) on the same August 22 program.

Saturday (7/25)

6TH – The Carla Gaines-conditioned MINER’S LIGHT (Mineshaft) was last early but came home with a big late run to narrowly miss in this debut offering. The gelded two-year-old led in midstretch before getting caught, but it was still a fine first run beneath Mike Smith.

8TH – BAYERN (Offlee Wild) did show some grit in this race, but we were disappointed that he didn’t take this field down with a perfect trip for Bob Baffert. The four-year-old colt is winless in 2015 and we’re not sure what to make of him going forward.

9TH – MICK’S MIRACLE (Wildcat Heir) looked best on paper and surely did so on the track, as well, in dominating this field for d’Amato. It was the type of performance we were hoping to see from the sophomore colt.

Sunday (7/26)

4TH – NEWFOUND GOLD (Newfoundland) continued to roll along with a dominating performance and looks like a fine claim for Bob Hess. The ageless eight-year-old surely appeared to have an affinity for this oval and in coming home with great energy.

7TH – SONGBIRD (Medaglia d’Oro) busted out of the gate and gave her foes little chance with a superb debut tally for Hollendorfer. The dark bay juvenile miss is bred to get a bit more ground through her sire and will be graded stakes bound in her next outing.

A Look Ahead

Saturday’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) is the topper this weekend at Del Mar.