Del Mar Week 7 highlights
Del Mar’s iconic summer meet ends Monday, and the shore is serving up plenty of action in its final days.
Last weekend, the seaside track hosted Triple Crown standouts, and two-year-olds will take center stage Labor Day weekend.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in West Coast racing.
Ginobili forges new ground in Pat O’ Brien S.
Third-choice Ginobili pulled a mild upset in the Pat O’Brien S. (G2) to capture his first stakes win and a place in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series. The four-year-old bay gelding finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of multiple graded-stakes winner C Z Rocket, who took second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
In his previous start, the Richard Baltas trainee won a Del Mar allowance race by 9 3/4 lengths, and the other victory of his 13-race career came at Del Mar. That bodes well for Ginobili, since Del Mar will host the Breeders' Cup Nov. 5-6.
He was a $35,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Sale in 2018. He is named after Manu Ginobili, the Argentinian who was a four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs.
Medina Spirit romps in Shared Belief
The dark bay took control of the race from the gate, held off challengers in the turn, and shook free in the stretch to best fellow Triple Crown competitor Rock Your World, who finished second in his first start since the Belmont S (G1).
Jockey John Velazquez flew in from the East Coast to ride the 4-5 favorite for trainer Bob Baffert. The day before, the duo teamed up for a victory with Gamine in Saratoga’s Ballerina H. (G1).
Baffert indicated that the Sept. 25 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx could be the next race for Medina Spirit.
Closing weekend features turf contests and two-year-olds
The final summer week at Del Mar this season features eight stakes over four days and highlights the stars of tomorrow. Each card features two-year-old races, culminating with the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Del Mar Futurity (G1). On Saturday, graded stakes action is on the turf, with the Del Mar Derby (G2) and John C. Mabee S. (G2).