A fine weekend of racing will take place at Del Mar once again this week, as the coastal retreat will play host to a trio of Grade 2 runs. Sophomore will go on the lawn at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday in the $150,000 La Jolla H. (G2). The La Jolla has drawn a contentious field of nine. Five runners from the two divisions of the opening-day Oceanside Stakes are entered, including Den’s Legacy, Freakin Rocket and Rosengold, and Grade 3 winner Dice Flavor will return to turf following a third in the Grade 2 Swaps.
Freakin Rocket figures to vie for favoritism following his first career setback, a close third in the first division of the Oceanside. Trained by Tim Yakteen, the Rock Hard Ten colt opened his racing career with a pair of convincing wins on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track and was making both his stakes and turf debut last time. Mike Smith retains the mount. Greeley Awesome closed with a rush to finish one spot better than Freakin Rocket, only a neck back of the winner at 14-1, and should receive more support Saturday following the encouraging effort. Claimed for $40,000 two starts back, the John Sadler charge keeps Julien Leparoux in the saddle.
Grade 3 scorer Den’s Legacy will look to make amends for a disappointing sixth as the favorite in the second division of the Oceanside. Runner-up in the Grade 3 Affirmed two back, the Bob Baffert trainee was making his first turf start since capturing the Grade 3 Generous in November. Corey Nakatani picks up the mount. Rosengold weakened slightly to fourth, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths, after setting the pace in the same heat. The chestnut reeled off consecutive wins in the Baffle, Pasadena and Tsunami Slew beforehand and the Julio Canani-trained colt looks like the one to catch Saturday with Martin Garcia. French import Si Sage will attempt to improve upon a fifth in the second division of the Oceanside in his U.S. debut.
Dice Flavor broke his maiden on Hollywood’s turf last December and recorded a close third versus turf optional claiming rivals at Santa Anita before switching to the Tapeta for the El Camino Real Derby in mid-February, drawing off to a convincing 3 3/4-length score in his stakes bow. After a non-threatening eighth in the U.A.E. Derby, he was freshened by Paddy Gallagher and returned to the races with a pair of solid efforts, recording a fourth in the Affirmed prior to his aforementioned effort in the Swaps. Garrett Gomez is named to ride in the third start off the layoff.
Stakes winner Dry Summer will make his first appearance since a well-beaten eighth in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby in March. The son of Any Given Saturday has been gelded in the interim and rates as an intriguing prospect given how well he performed at Del Mar last year, breaking his maiden on Polytrack before capturing the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf over the seaside course. Joe Talamo rides for Jeff Mullins.
Uno Dos Adios will make his stakes debut off a turf allowance win at Hollywood for Bill Spawr and stakes-placed Pure Loyalty rounds out the field.
Tiz Flirtatious faces four in Mabee
Sunday will play host to the $250,000 John Mabee S. (G2), a grass test for some of the best turf distaffers on the coast. Tiz Flirtatious heads a short field of five entered for the Grade 2, $250,00 John C. Mabee at Del Mar. The Marty Jones-trained mare nearly defeated top California-based turf distaffer Marketing Mix in the Grade 1 Gamely last time out and won’t have to deal with that classy rival in Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile turf affair. Julien Leparoux retains the mount on the likely favorite.
After beginning her racing career with three straight wins on the main track in late 2011, Tiz Flirtatious opened 2012 with a third as the favorite in the Grade 2 La Canada. The California-bred headed to the sidelines for nearly seven months afterward, returning to action last October with a victory in her turf debut, the California Cup Distaff. She returned to graded competition with a pair of respectable efforts, finishing a close second in both the Matriarch and Robert J. Frankel, and then captured the Valentine’s Dancer over restricted foes in January.
The improving five-year-old mare made it two straight wins when posting a comfortable one-length decision in the Grade 2 Santa Ana on March 24 two starts back. The daughter of Tizbud has never missed finished out of the money in 10 career starts (6-3-1) and will spot her opponents two-to-four pounds as the 123-pound highweight.
Lady of Shamrock is the leading challenger. Winner of last year’s Del Mar Oaks, the dark bay filly recorded a fast-finishing fifth, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths, after a trouble-filled trip in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and entered her four-year-old season with high expectations. But 2013 has not gone as expected for the multiple Grade 1-winning daughter of Scat Daddy as Lady of Shamrock has failed to finish first in four attempts, netting her only victory via a controversial disqualification in the Santa Barbara three back.
Runner-up in the Grade 2 New York at Belmont Park most recently, Lady of Shamrock will be equipped with first-time blinkers Sunday. Rafael Bejarano has the call for John Sadler..
Grade 2 winner My Gi Gi will stretch back out to nine furlongs following a decent third in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Mile and picks up the services of Corey Nakatani. Expected longshots Customer Base and Journaliste complete the field.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club 2013 Summer Meet
Del Mar Summer Meet Dates: July 17 through September 4
Del Mar Thoroughbred Racing Schedule – Del Mar will conduct a 37-day meeting, racing on a Wednesday through Sunday basis up until Wednesday, September 4. There will be one additional day added to the seven-week schedule – a holiday program on Labor Day Monday, September 2.
Del Mar Summer Meet Post Times – First post on most days will be at 2 p.m. with the exception of Fridays when cards start at 4 p.m.
Del Mar Wagering
Once again featuring several “guarantees” on large pools and a “winner’s bonus” for Sunday cards, Del Mar’s betting menu for the 2013 will look familiar to many racing fans. The reason for that, simply, is because it is the exact same menu the track presented in 2012.
One of the most popular selections at the track – the Pick Six – will be presented once more with guaranteed pools on all racing days. The bet, which requires that fans pick the winners of the last six races on the day’s card and often results in large payoffs, will have a guaranteed pool of $125,000 on weekdays and $250,000 on weekends.
As it has for the past two years, Del Mar additionally will provide a “winner’s bonus” of $50,000 for each Sunday’s Pick Six. The bonus is for winning tickets only, so in the case of five fans holding winners for example, each would have an additional $10,000 added to their prize. If there are no winning Pick Six tickets on a Sunday program, that $50,000 bonus will be added to the “carryover” for the next racing day. However, in the case where there is already a “carryover” coming into a Sunday program, no additional bonus monies will be provided.
As it also has for the past two years, the track additionally will offer guaranteed pools on its Pick Four bet, requiring the selection of the winners for the day’s final four events. The guaranteed pool for this .50¢-minimum wager is $250,000 on weekdays and $500,000 on weekends.
A bet that was instituted in 2011 – the .50¢ Player’s Pick Five – continues on the betting menu again this season. The wager requires picking the winners of the day’s first five races and will be available at a minimum price of .50¢. It carries the additional advantage of having a takeout of only 14%.
The full array of Del Mar bets is as follows: $2 win, place and show; $1 Exacta; $2 Quinella; $1 Trifecta; $2 rolling Double; $1 rolling Pick Three; $1 Superfecta (.10¢ minimum); $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five; $2 Pick Six; .50¢ Player’s Pick Five, and .50¢ Pick Four.
Del Mar Summer 2013 Racing Schedule:
The traditional opening-day feature, the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile on turf, has once again proven popular enough to be split into two divisions. In its 32 runnings since 1981, the Oceanside has been split no fewer than 26 times. It serves as a key prep for the track’s sophomore championship event, the $300,000 Del Mar Derby slated for September 1.
Del Mar’s opening weekend also features the first of the meet’s Grade 1 contests, the Eddie Read on Saturday.
The track’s signature race, the $1 million Pacific Classic, anchors a stakes tripleheader on August 25. Pacific Classic Day includes a pair of Grade 2 events, the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs and the $200,000 Del Mar Mile on the Jimmy Durante turf course.
The other Grade 1 offerings are the Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs (July 28), the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at 1 1/16 miles (August 3), the Del Mar Oaks at nine panels on the lawn (August 17), the Del Mar Debutante at seven-eighths (August 31) and the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity on closing day (September 4).
With the exception of the lucrative Pacific Classic, all of Del Mar’s Grade 1 races carry purses of $300,000.
Five of the stakes have been deemed Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races, meaning automatic, fees-paid berths for designated Breeders’ Cup races. They are the Bing Crosby (for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint), Clement L. Hirsch (Ladies’ Classic), Del Mar Handicap (Turf), Pat O’Brien (Dirt Mile) and Pacific Classic (Classic).
Two of the track’s stakes have been enhanced by $50,000 this season, while a third has been reduced. The added stakes money goes to a pair of California-bred grass races — the California Dreamin’ Handicap (July 21) and the Solana Beach Handicap (August 18) — each now increased from $100,000 to $150,000 as part of the statewide breeding commitment to a more lucrative stakes program for homegrown runners.
The Yellow Ribbon Handicap (September 2), which prior to last year was run as the Palomar Handicap, had its purse reduced from a one-year level of $250,000 to its original prize of $150,000 for its 2013 renewal.
Besides its 33 major stakes, Del Mar also will offer 10 overnight stakes with purses boosted to a record level of $90,000 each.
Racing begins at the seaside oval on Wednesday, July 17 and there will be 14 different wagers offered, starting with the traditional win, place and show and running all the way down to several five- and six-horse combination bets.