Catalina Cruiser Breezes to San Diego Handicap Victory

Catalina Cruiser © Benoit Photo

With the original line-up of ten entrants cut in half by scratches, Hronis Racing’s lightly-raced but talented Catalina Cruiser took full advantage to score an easy front-running victory in the Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap Saturday.

Catalina Cruiser, piloted by Drayden Van Dyke, took command shortly after the start of the mile and one-sixteenth race, rated comfortably on the lead and drew off impressively when asked in the stretch, scoring by six and three-quarter lengths in 1:42.95.

Dr. Dorr, who pressed the pace throughout, held second, a length and three-quarters in front of Dabster, with Two Thirty Five fourth in the field of five older Thoroughbreds. Harlan Punch completed the field.

Catalina Cruiser, perfect now in three starts, inherited the role of favorite at 6-5 after the withdrawal of stablemates Accelerate, the 2017 San Diego winner who was scheduled to carry highweight of 125 pounds,  and Curlin Rules from the barn of trainer John Sadler. Also scratched were Sharp Samurai, Prince of Arabia and El Huerfano.

Catalina Cruiser, a four-year-old son of Union Rags bred in Kentucky, came into the race undefeated in two sprints – a maiden event in October of 2017 and a six-furlong dash May 19 at Santa Anita. The San Diego marked the chestnut colt’s first experience beyond a sprint distance.

The winner returned $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40 while earning first money of $120,000 to increase his lifetime bankroll to $183,600. He carried 115 pounds. Runner-up Dr. Dorr paid $3.40 and $2.60, while Dabster returned $2.60 to show.

The San Diego Handicap is the major steppingstone to the Grade I $1 million TVG Pacific Classic which will be run Saturday, August 18 at a mile and one-quarter.

In Sunday’s co-featured $200,000 San Clemente Stakes, War Heroine and jockey Tyler Baze barely held off the fast-closing Ollie’s Candy to win by a neck, with 5-2 favored Ms Bad Behavior only another neck away in third place. Ahimsa was fourth in the field of 13 three-year-old fillies.

War Heroine, a daughter of Lonhro owned by Gary Barber and trained by Peter Miller, accomplished the mile over the turf in 1:34.90 and returned $13.80, $7.80 and $4.80. The win was her fourth in six starts and first prize of $120,000  almost doubled her earnings to $240,945.

Runner-up Ollie’s Candy returned $8.60 and $5 while Ms Bad Behavior paid $3.20 to show.

The San Clemente is a prelude to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks, also on Saturday, August 18.


DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Catalina Cruiser, winner) – “He felt good all the way; nice and relaxed. He’s a super talented horse. I knew that right from the beginning. John (trainer John Sadler) said ‘Just get him comfortable.’ He didn’t care if I was in front or coming from off it.  I figured we’d be in front – as long as someone didn’t do something stupid. Then he really pulled me into that first turn and he was going easy from there. Big race for him.”

JOE TALAMO (Dr. Dorr, second) – “My horse tried hard. Hats off to the winner. He ran a huge race.”

FLAVIEN PRAT (Dabster, third) — “It was a good race for him. The winner had it all his own way.”


JOHN SADLER (Catalina Cruiser, winner) – “The nickname of this horse around the barn is ‘The best horse nobody’s heard of.’ Today we changed it to ‘the next big thing.’ We’ve loved this horse from day one. He’s showed a lot of potential, but we’ve had to be patient with him. Today he showed us what we thought he could do. We’re not going to run two in the Pacific Classic. We’re going to run one horse to be determined. We’re going to see how these horses (Accelerate, Catalina Cruiser) train over the track and pull up.”


FRACTIONS:  :23.07  :47.20  1:11.64  1:36.52  1:42.95


The win in the San Diego was a first for Van Dyke.  He now has 12 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The win in the San Diego was the fourth for Sadler.  He now has 60 stakes wins at Del Mar. The victory was also the trainer’s 446 (in 39 seasons) at Del Mar, third-most at the track all time, one ahead of Ron McAnally.

Del Mar Daily Results and Activity

Results

Saturday, July 21
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $60,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Claiming – $16,000 $20,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $65,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $100,000 $67,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $150,000 $43,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $62,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 San Diego H. $200,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 San Clemente S. $200,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Maiden Special Weight $60,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $60,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Thursday, July 26 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $80,000 $36,000
Race 2 Claiming – $8,000 $20,000
Race 3 Starter Allowance – $50,000 $35,000
Race 4 Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 5 Claiming – $20,000 $24,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 7 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $62,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000

Final Entries

Sunday, July 22
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 2 Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 3 Claiming – $50,000 $48,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $62,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000
Race 6 Wickerr S. $75,000
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 8 Eddie Read S. $250,000
Race 9 Claiming – $12,500 $23,000

Stable Notes

SPOUSE OR SHEIK? BAFFERT STAYS STRESS FREE TRAINING FOR BOTH

The question regarding Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap was one only Bob Baffert was qualified to ponder.

“Is it a bigger stressor to train a horse for your wife, or for one of the richest and most powerful men in the world?”

That’s the situation the Hall of Fame conditioner is in as he prepares to send out Dr. Dorr, owned by his wife Jill, and Dabster, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a member of the royal family of Dubai and first cousin to the country’s ruler.

It didn’t take long for Baffert to dismiss one of the possibilities.

“Training for my wife, there’s no pressure there,” Baffert said. “We breed them and race them for fun and the horse has been good enough that it’s been enjoyable for both of us.”

Dr. Dorr, a 5-year-old gelded son of Lookin At Lucky, the 2009 Del Mar Futurity winner, out of the Unusual Heat mare Jax El, was bred in Kentucky by Madeline Auerbach, the late Jack Klugman and Bob Baffert. Dr. Dorr has five wins in 13 career starts and earnings of $388,320. Three of the wins, two of them in stakes, were accomplished in five starts this year.

He was a four-length winner in a $75,000 overnight stakes at Santa Anita in March, and followed that up with an impressive seven-length score in the Grade II Californian in May. Dr. Dorr was second to Accelerate in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in late May, then shipped east for an unsuccessful run in the Grade II Suburban at Belmont Park two weeks ago.

Dabster, a $1 million purchase at auction in 2016, is a four-year-old son of Curlin who crossed under the wire in front in four of six starts but was disqualified and placed fourth in one. His two losses have come in graded stakes, the Malibu on December 26 of last year and the San Carlos on June 23 at Santa Anita.

Baffert, whose only San Diego victory came with Fed Biz in 2014, had planned to run another Sheikh Mohammed color bearer, Mubtaahij, in the San Diego, but a fever as the entry deadline approached forced a scratch. Mubtaahij will be pointed to the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 18, the signature event of the summer season and the race for which the San Diego is a major prep. The San Diego will be run as the seventh on a 10-race card.

Sharp Samurai  and Prince Arabia were scratched Friday morning. Sharp Samurai is entered in Sunday’s Grade II $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes.

The field from the rail: Catalina Cruiser (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1), Dr. Dorr (Joe Talamo, 5-1), Two Thirty Five  (Franklin Ceballos, 6-1), Curlin Rules (Tyler Baze, 20-1), Accelerate (Victor Espinoza, 8-5), El Huerfano (Tyler Conner, 20-1), Dabster (Flavien Prat, 8-1) and Harlan Punch (Martin Pedroza, 8-1).


ANIMOSITY COULD BE A GOOD THING IN GRADE II SAN CLEMENTE

Animosity, a lightly-raced daughter of Animal Kingdom owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, will concede experience to several of the 12 other entrants, but still figures to be a major factor in Saturday’s Grade II $200,000  San Clemente Stakes.

The one-mile grass test for 3-year-old fillies, a stepping stone to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Saturday, August 18, will be run as the eighth on a 10-race card.

Animosity notched a debut victory at Santa Anita in March and followed up  with another in May at Golden Gate Fields. Stepped up to stakes for the Grade II Honeymoon at Santa Anita, she set the pace in the 1 1/8 mile turf race at odds of 10-1 before being passed in the stretch by Paved.

“It’s a good competitive race and she’s only had three runs, but she’s doing well and she’s done nothing wrong so far,” said trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Streak of Luck was scratched Friday, reducing the field to 13.

The field from the rail: Rockin Ready (Joe Talamo, 8-1), Ms Bad Behavior (Kent Desormeaux, 9-2), Flammetta (Geovanni Franco, 12-1), Miss Sienna (Mike Smith, 5-1), Ahimsa (Evin Roman, 30-1), Dulce Ride (Rafael Bejarano, 20-1), Animosity (Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1), West Palm Beach (Flavien Prat, 6-1), War Heroine (Tyler Baze, 6-1), Pursuing The Dream (Victor Espinoza, 20-1), Lexington Grace (Gary Stevens, 15-1), Ms Peintour (Stewart Elliott, 20-1) and Ollie’s Candy (Corey Nakatani, 6-1).


DEFENDING CHAMPION HUNT IS SECOND CHOICE FOR EDDIE READ

Michael House’s 6-year-old Irish-bred grass specialist Hunt drew the No.  7 post and was established as the 3-1 second choice behind 5-2 favorite Itsinthepost in a field of 11 for Sunday’s Grade II $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes.

Hunt, trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Flavien Prat, followed up the Eddie Read victory with one in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap to be named the top grass horse of the 2017 Summer Meeting and comes into the race off a victory in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on May 28 at Santa Anita in his 2018 debut.

Itsinthepost, trained by Jeff Mullins and ridden by Tyler Baze, started his 2018 campaign in January and has four wins, all in Grade II stakes, in five starts. The 6-year-old, French-bred gelding’s only loss was a third place result when shipped to Keeneland for the Elkhorn Stakes in April.

An interesting long shot is Peter Miller-trained Multiplier (20-1). The 4-year-old son of The Factor, won the 2017 Illinois Derby and raced in the Preakness (6th) and Belmont Stakes (10th) in 2017 and was switched from dirt to grass two months ago after nine dirt starts.

A victory in an allowance at Santa Anita prompted a try in the Grade I Manhattan at Belmont Park in June in which Multiplier was a non-factor.

“He’s bred for the grass and he seems to like it, but he’s a little bit of a goof off,” Miller said. “Victor Espinoza said in the Manhattan he ran like a green 2-year-old. We’re going to put the blinkers on and we feel that if we can get him to focus, he’ll run a big race.”

The field from the rail: True Valour  (Jamie Spencer, 15-1), Next Shares (Rafael Bejarano, 8-1), Flamboyant (Brice Blanc, 20-1), Bowies Hero (Corey Nakatani, 8-1), Sharp Samurai (Gary Stevens, 7-2), Catapult (Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1), Hunt (Flavien Prat, 3-1), Multiplier  (Victor Espinoza, 20-1), Itsinthepost (Tyler Baze, 5-2), Prime Attraction (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1) and Fashion Business (Joe Talamo, 15-1).


CONQUEST TSUNAMI WILL BE THE ONE TO CATCH IN SUNDAY’S WICKERR

Gary Barber’s Conquest Tsunami drew the No. 11 post in a capacity field of 14 and was established as the 7-2 morning line favorite by oddsmaker Russ Hudak for Sunday’s $75,000 Wickerr Stakes.

A 6-year-old gelded son of Stormy Atlantic, Conquest Tsunami was trained by Mark Casse and raced mostly on the East Coast and Canada before being sent to Peter  Miller for his 2018 campaign. Turf sprint  wins in an allowance and the  Grade III Daytona at Santa Anita prompted a trip to Dubai and a third-place finish in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint in March.

Rested until June, Conquest  Tsunami made his comeback with a second to Disco Partner in the Grade II Jaipur at Belmont Park. Of $683,066 in career earnings for Conquest Tsumani, $304,800 have come in 2018.

The Wickerr, at a mile on the turf, is at least a sixteenth of a mile farther than Conquest Tsunami has run in over two years.

“He’ll be out there on the lead winging,” Miller said. “We’ll take them as  fast as  we can as far as we can.”

The field from the rail: Gold Rush Dancer (Evin Roman, 30-1), Forever Juanito (Agapito Delgadillo, 20-1), Cistron (Tyler Baze, 12-1), Giant Payday (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1), Editore (Brice Blanc, 6-1), Isotherm (Geovanni Franco, 20-1), Tule Fog (Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1), Liam the Charmer (Tyler Conner, 20-1), Big Score (Rafael Bejarano, 9-2), Colonist (Drayden Van Dyke, 5-1), Conquest Tsunami (Victor Espinoza, 7-2), Perfectly Majestic (Corey Nakatani, 8-1), Double Touch (Gary Stevens, 20-1) and Bombard (Flavien Prat, 6-1).


CLOSERS–  Selected works from 203 officially timed Friday morning: Beau Recall (4f, :49.20), All Out Blitz (5f, :59.80), B Squared (5f, 1:02.00), Gone to Bali (5f, :59.80), Marley’s Freedom (5f, 1:00.00), McKale (5f, 1:00.00), Pavel (5f, 1:02.80), Take the One O One (5f, 1:01.00), Tariq (5f, 1:02.20) and La Force (5f, 1:01.60) … The weekend handicapping seminars are set to commence. On Saturday, handicapper John Boal will provide insights and picks. Sunday, Emily Gullikson will be the guest of host Frank Scatoni. The seminars are conducted at the Seaside Terrace near the top of the stretch.

Fahan Mura Wins Wire-to-Wire in Osunitas Stakes

Fahan Mura, a four-year-old filly who’s found a home competing over the grass in California, scored her fifth victory in as many starts Friday in the Golden State as she led from wire-to-wire to win the featured $82,125 Osunitas Stakes for older fillies and mares.

Taking command shortly after the break and rating well for jockey Edwin Maldonado, Fahan Mura never was seriously threatened and cruised to the wire a length and three-quarters in advance of 25-1 longshot Achira. Midnight Crossing was third, one length behind the runner-up and a neck in front of fourth-place Compelled. Paradise Woods, the 2-1 favorite, was sixth after pressing the winner’s pace.

The final time was 1:41.10.

Scratched from the mile and one-sixteenth grass race were Melissa Jane, Pyscho Sister, Vexatious and Barleysugar.

Fahan Mura, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of English Channel, was claimed for $40,000 in August of last year by owners Michael Mellen of Bran Jam Stable and partner David W. Clark. After several winless races in New York, the filly was sent to California and turned over to trainer Vladimir Cerin.

Starting out in a $32,000 claimer in January, Fahan Mura began a streak of four straight grass triumphs at Santa Anita while moving up in class. Returned to the East Coast in early June  to run in the New York Stakes at Belmont Park, she finished sixth after setting the pace.

Fahan Mura went to the gate at 6-1 and returned $15.40, $9.20 and $8.20 while earning $48,240. The win was her seventh in 18 starts. Runner-up Achira paid $24.40 and $11.60, while Midnight Crossing returned $6.20 to show.

Single Ticket Pick Six Returns $240,346 at Del Mar Friday

Jockey Kent Desormeaux teamed up with his brother/trainer Keith Desormeaux to capture the 8th and final race at Del Mar Friday aboard favored Baby Frankie and shower a $240,346 payoff on a lone ticket holder in the track’s Pick Six bet.

The winning ticket was sold for $3,168  by the New York Racing Association.

Baby Frankie, a 2-year-old Super Saver colt owned by Impact Thoroughbreds or Madaket Stables, returns $5.80 for the win in his initial victory. He covered five and a half furlongs in 1:06.34 and was home by a length and a quarter.

The earlier winners in the six-race sequence were (Race 3) Operandi ($5.60); (Race 4) Colormemoney ($15); (Race 5) Streetwithnoname ($74.60); (Race 6) Oliver ($5.40), and (Race 7) Fahan Mura ($15.40).  The winning numbers were 3-13-11-9-12-4.

Del Mar Daily Results and Activity

Results

Friday, July 20
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $25,000 $34,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Claiming – $8,000 $20,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $62,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $20,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $62,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $60,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Osunitas S. $75,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Sunday, July 22 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 2 Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 3 Claiming – $50,000 $48,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $62,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000
Race 6 Wickerr S. $75,000
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 8 Eddie Read S. $250,000
Race 9 Claiming – $12,500 $23,000
Wednesday, July 25 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $20,000 $24,000
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000
Race 3 Claiming – $8,000 $20,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $100,000 $67,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000
Race 6 Starter Allowance – $50,000 $35,000
Race 7 Cougar II H. $100,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $20,000

Final Entries

Saturday, July 21
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 2 Claiming – $16,000 $20,000
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $65,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $100,000 $67,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $150,000 $43,000
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $62,000
Race 7 San Diego H. $200,000
Race 8 San Clemente S. $200,000
Race 9 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $60,000

Moonshine Memories Prevails in Del Mar Feature

Moonshine Memories © Benoit Photo

Moonshine Memories, who gained initial prominence by winning the Grade I Del Mar Debutante last summer, showed her quality again Thursday in scoring a hard-fought triumph over Steph Being Steph in Del Mar’s featured race, a 6 ½ -furlong contest for three-year-old fillies.

Sent postward at 1-2 odds, Moonshine Memories, piloted by Flavien Prat, was tested thoroughly in the stretch but prevailed by a head in 1:16.57 for the distance. Third was Well Hello, two and one-half length behind the runner-up and one and one-quarter lengths ahead of fourth-place Show It N Moe It. Scratched from the field was Treasuring.

Moonshine Memories, a daughter of Malibu Moon owned by the partnership of Bridlewood Farm, Magnier and Smith and trained by Simon Callaghan, began her career at Del Mar a year ago, winning a maiden event and then the Debutante. She  took the Grade I Chandelier at Santa Anita before running seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. In two starts this year, she was second in the Angels Flight at Santa Anita  and fourth most recently in the Grade I Acorn at Belmont Park.

Moonshine Memories, winning for the fourth time in seven races, paid $3, $2.40 and $2.20. Steph Being Steph, who was handled by Stewart Elliott, returned $4.80 and $3.40, while Well Hello paid $3 to show.

With no perfect tickets, Friday’s Pick Six will feature a carryover of $56,639. Post time for the opener is 4 p.m.

Seven Interns Using Del Mar as Their Racing Starter Kit

That’s DMTC CEO Joe Harper in the middle with Del Mar’s 2018 intern crew (from left): Riley Golden, Cory Moore, Tricia Warren, Patricia Scholle, Jack Cesari, Carter Ballard and Julianna McDowell (not pictured).

The 42nd class in a Del Mar Summer intern program that started in 1977 has assembled, seven strong, for the 79th season at the seaside track.

By the numbers, it breaks down to six San Diego County products and one Arizonan; five with primary interests in the marketing, business or operational aspects of the racing industry and one each interning to specialize in photography and videography.

A look at the Class of ’18 in alphabetical order:

Carter Ballard, 20, from San Marcos and Palomar Community College, is the videographer, an occupational goal for him for several years. His father, Todd, works for the GoPro company and using the compact anytime/anywhere camera quickly became a major interest for Carter.

Connections between his father, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club director of sponsorship Walker McBride and digital content manager Claire Crawford (intern Class of 2013) led to the job. “Now I’m here and I’m excited,” Ballard said. “I’ve been using GoPro equipment mostly, but I got a new Sony in January and I’m excited to use it here as well.”

Jack Cesari, 19, who moved with his family from the San Jose area to San Diego as a first grader, is a sophomore at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he’s majoring in economics. He became aware of the intern program a year ago at a time he was already committed to another one, but followed up this year with family friend Craig Dado, one of DMTC’s executive vice presidents and its chief marketing officer. “Probably the biggest thing I hope to get out of the program is to get some insight into how the races work from the business and financial aspect,” Cesari said. “I’m looking forward to  the experience and the connections I hope to make through this.”

Riley Golden, 20, from Carlsbad and Mira Costa College is the photography intern. “Photography started for me around my junior year in high school,” Golden said. “I picked up one of my sister’s cameras that she barely ever used and I liked it and just stuck with it. I think coming here and working at the racetrack is going to give me a whole new perspective on action sports photography and what it really is.

“It will be a great experience to be around other photographers in the field and videographers and learn from them. Things like where to be (for optimum shots), how to work with clients and other things that I need to know. ”

Golden and videography intern Ballard are longtime friends and it was through Ballard that Golden heard about and pursued the internship.

Julianna McDowell, 21, from San Marcos, is a recent graduate of San Diego State with a degree in journalism. Her father, Mike, an executive with the San Diego Tourism board and later the San Diego Sports Commission, had played a role in Del Mar’s selection as site for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, although Julianna missed the big two-day event last November.

“I was interning in the mayor’s office,” she said. “I’ve actually only been here once for the races.”

She’s open to any experiences this summer, but hopes that somehow there may be a keyboard involved.

“I’ve done a few internships in public relations and I really like writing,” she said. “Anything that involves writing is what I’d really like to do, even social media, which I really haven’t had a lot of experience in doing.”

Cory Moore, 22, from Solana Beach, is another graduate in May from San Diego State with a degree in marketing. “I lived very close to here and since I was very young my parents brought me here and I’ve thought about working here,” Moore said.

“I met Craig Dado when he spoke at a marketing meeting at SDSU and talked about the program here. I’ve worked for the Padres for the last three years and I really want to pursue sports marketing as a career so this would be a dream place for me to work and I’m really excited about it.”

Patricia Scholle, 22, is from Yuma, Arizona and is the 43rd Del Mar intern to hail from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program of which she is a recent graduate.

The U of A program is designed to be completed in four years, but after switching from another major, Scholle completed it in three.

“Another professor talked about the racetrack program and I kind of realized that the classes I’d had before, I never liked,” Scholle said. “I love horses, I’ve been riding since I was four or five and I decided to just go with my gut, and I was in the program the next semester.”

While she admits her initial knowledge of racing was limited: “I knew who Seabiscuit and Secretariat were, but anything else I didn’t have a clue.” She’s made up for lost time, however. She’s been to, and worked at, racetracks in Kentucky, Arizona and, most recently, Pleasanton, CA, with an important stop at the Breeders’ Cup here last November.

“They brought a group of students over and we got to shuttle people back and forth to the track and other things,” she said. “We got so close to Gun Runner and Unique Bella and all those great horses and jockeys. I took a selfie with Joe Talamo and it was the best, like, two seconds of my life.”

She’s fresh from a customer relations position and looks forward to experiencing more of that and venturing into marketing and special events. “You guys do a lot of special events here.”

Tricia Warrens, 20, from San Diego, is a junior in the University of Louisville Equine Business Program, the sixth from the school to intern at Del Mar. “I’ve known about this program since my junior year of high school and knew it was something I’d like to eventually do,” she said. “My dad brought me to the races here every summer and I just gradually grew to love it more and more and realized it was something I wanted to do, potentially as a career.

“I’m really hoping to get some experience in the racing office and learn about that aspect. I’ve also done some photography and writing and would like to get some more experience in those areas as well.”

Del Mar Daily Results and Activity

Results

Thursday, July 19
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $20,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $65,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Claiming – $25,000 $25,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Claiming – $16,000 $26,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $62,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Allowance $67,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $60,000 Overnight Overnight



Early Entries

Saturday, July 21 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 2 Claiming – $16,000 $20,000
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $65,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $100,000 $67,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $150,000 $43,000
Race 6 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $62,000
Race 7 San Diego H. $200,000
Race 8 San Clemente S. $200,000
Race 9 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Sunday, July 22 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 2 Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 3 Claiming – $50,000 $48,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $62,000
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000
Race 6 Wickerr S. $75,000
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 8 Eddie Read S. $250,000
Race 9 Claiming – $12,500 $23,000

Final Entries

Friday, July 20
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $25,000 $34,000
Race 2 Claiming – $8,000 $20,000
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $20,000 $62,000
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $20,000
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $62,000
Race 6 Maiden Special Weight $60,000
Race 7 Osunitas S. $75,000
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $30,000

DEL MAR STABLE NOTES

DAY 1

D’AMATO’S FOCUS IS ON QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY, OF WINS

Phil D’Amato shared the 2017 Del Mar training championship with Richard Baltas when they saddled 18 winners apiece. D’Amato claimed it outright in 2016 with 23 wins.

But on Opening Day of the 2018 Del Mar Summer season, D’Amato allowed that his name wouldn’t be atop the leaderboard when the 79th such meeting comes to an end on Labor Day.

“Realistically, I don’t think I have the horses to do it,” D’Amato said Wednesday morning. “I’ve got a good chance to be competitive in the stakes races, that’s my focus. A big win total is neither here nor there. I’m trying to take down these stakes races and develop some horses.

“I really don’t have much in the claiming ranks and you really need those horses to get the ‘Ws’ to contend for a training title.”

The late Mike Mitchell, D’Amato’s mentor and the man whose stable D’Amato took over, strung together four straight training titles from 1981-84, one shared with D. Wayne Lukas. Since then, with the exception of Bob Baffert’s seven straight from 1997-2003, back-to-back has been the max for Del Mar titleists.

“I think it’s possible (to win more than two) these days if you have a real diversified stable with horses at all levels, top to bottom,” D’Amato said.

And while his streak may be ending, D’Amato has a strong suspicion about which of his fellow trainers is poised to start one here.

“If I’m a betting man and I’m betting on trainers to win the title this summer at Del Mar, I’m betting on Doug O’Neill,” D’Amato said. “He’s well diversified and he’s the heavy favorite.”

D’Amato’s stakes quest begins with today’s featured $100,000 Oceanside when he’ll saddle Heartfullofstars. It will extend through the opening weekend where he has Fizzy Friday for Friday’s Osunitas, Miss Sienna for Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 San Clemente, Bowies Hero and Hunt for Sunday’s $250,000 Grade II Eddie Read and Kenjisstorm for Sunday’s $75,000 Wickerr.


TEN TO GO IN SATURDAY’S SAN DIEGO

Defending race champion Accelerate will face nine challengers in Saturday’s Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap.

The draw for post positions was scheduled later Wednesday, but the entrants in alphabetical order are: Accelerate (Victor Espinoza), Catalina Cruiser (Drayden Van Dyke), Curlin Rules (Tyler Baze), Dabster (Flavien Prat), Dr. Dorr (Joe Talamo), El Huerfano (TBD), Harlan Punch (Martin Pedroza), Prince Of Arabia (Stewart Elliott), Sharp Samurai (Gary Stevens) and Two Thirty Five (Franklin Ceballos).

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic five times but has visited the winner’s circle after the San Diego, the major Classic prep event, only once. That was with Fed Biz in 2014.

Baffert will be doubly represented by Dr. Dorr, owned by his wife Natalie, and Dabster, owned by the Sheik Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. Dr. Dorr won the Grade II Californian at Santa Anita in April and was second to Accelerate in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita last month.

Dabster was an allowance winner in his only Del Mar appearance on the undercard of the Breeders’ Cup program on Friday, November 3.


HALL OF FAMER MANUEL YCAZA PASSES AWAY AT 80

Hall of Fame jockey Manuel Ycaza, the Panamanian-born rider who paved the way for countrymen Braulio Baeza, Jorge Velazquez,  Laffit Pincay, Jr. and Alex Solis to achieve success in the United States, died Monday at the age of 80 at his home in Forest Hills, New York.

Cause of death was sepsis (an infection), according to his son, Manuel Ycaza III.

Because of injuries, Ycaza retired in 1971. He staged a comeback in l983 which was short-lived, retiring for good the following year. During his successful career, he rode some of the great Thoroughbreds in American racing history, including Dr. Fager, Sword Dancer, Bald Eagle, Ack Ack, Damascus, Lamb Chop, Dark Mirage and Fort Marcy aboard whom he won numerous stakes. He won 2,367 races with a winning percentage of 22.4.

Born Feb. 1, 1938, Ycaza competed in Mexico City before emigrating to the United States in 1956, riding at Del Mar among other Southern California tracks before moving to the East Coast.

He competed in the Rocking Chair Derby at Del Mar in 1978, finishing third behind victorious Howard Grant in the special event which brought back retired jockeys. He received the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1964 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

Funeral mass for Ycaza will be celebrated Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church in Forest Hills. Donations may be made in his name to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund at PDJF.org.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW: CHAMPIONS OF 2017 SUMMER SEASON

Checking in on the current status of the horses voted champions in nine divisions for the 2017 Del Mar Summer Season.

Horse of the Meeting and Older Horse – Collected. Followed up his TVG Pacific Classic victory with a second to Gun Runner in the Breeders’ Cup Classic here to end a nearly $1.9 million earnings year in 2017 but was seventh in his lone 2018 start, the $12 million Pegasus Cup in January. Off since then, trainer Bob Baffert reports Collected has been training at a Kentucky farm and is expected at Del Mar next week to be assessed for a possible Classic title defense.

Sprinter – Ransom the Moon. Second in the Kona Gold Stakes and fifth in the Met Mile at Belmont in 2018, the 2017 Bing Crosby winner is planned to make a title defense in the  $300,000 Grade I event on Saturday, July 28.

Grass Horse – Hunt. Scored a big win in the Grade I $400,000 Shoemaker Mile at the end of May and is targeted for the Grade II $250,000 Eddie Read on Sunday.

Older Filly or  MareStellar Wind. The Clement L. Hirsch Stakes winner the last two years was sold as a broodmare prospect in November for $6 million to Coolmore Stud to be bred to Galileo.

3-year-old – Sharp Samurai. Nominated for three stakes in the coming weekend – the San Diego, Eddie Read and Wickerr – the Mark Glatt trainee is most likely for the Read. Rested since a winning 2018 debut at Santa Anita in June, “He came off the break sharp and we’re hoping he can pick up right where he left off here last year,” Glatt said.

3-year-old filly – Dream Dancing. The ship-in winner of the Del Mar Oaks  is 0-for-6 since while competing in stakes in the Midwest, East and Canada. Her most recent result was a ninth in the Dance Smartly at Woodbine on June 30.

2-year-old – Bolt d’Oro. The Futurity winner fared well in Kentucky Derby preps at Santa Anita, winning the San Felipe by disqualification over McKinzie and finishing second to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby. But a 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and last in the $1.2 million Met Mile on Belmont Stakes day prompted a current 60-day rest period at owner Mick Ruis’ farm in Kentucky.

2-year-old filly – Moonshine Memories. The Debutante winner was second in the Angels Flight at Santa Anita in her 2018 debut in May, then fourth to Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl in the Acorn at Belmont in June. Back in California, she’s the headliner in a field of seven in Thursday’s seventh race, an allowance with a purse of $67,000.


COMING IN HOT: THE JOCKEY AND TRAINER TITLEISTS OF RECENT MEETS

Flavien Prat claimed the riding title for the Santa Anita spring/summer season with 39 wins from 147 mounts, 11 more than Geovanni Franco accomplished with 183 rides. Joe Talamo was third with 27 wins from 160 mounts.

The trainer title went to Doug O’Neill, who won 31 times from 138 starters. Phil D’Amato was second (29-for-120) and Peter Miller third (25-for-125).

The three-week Los Alamitos meeting, which concluded on Sunday, saw 18-year-old apprentices Asa Espinoza and Heriberto Figueroa  battle to a 12-win tie with each winning one of the final two  races on Sunday.

Espinoza, who grew up in Arcadia, is the nephew of Hall of Fame rider Victor Espinoza. Figueroa hails from Puerto Rico.

The training title went to Bob Baffert, 5-4 over Steve Miyadi.


PARADISE WOODS DRAWS RAIL FOR FRIDAY’S OSUNITAS

Two-time Grade I winner Paradise Woods will break from post position No. 1 and face 11 rivals in Friday’s featured Osunitas Stakes. Owned by Pam and Marty Wygod and Herman Sarkowsky, trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, the 4-year-old daughter of Union Rags has three wins in 10 lifetime starts with earnings of $773,545.

Two of the wins came last year in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks and the Zenyatta in September. She finished third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff here last November.

The Osunitas will give Paradise Woods a break from facing standout distaff runners like Unique Bella and Abel Tasman and will also be her first try on grass. The Osunitas is a 1 1/16-mile test on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

“She’s doing fine and we’re looking to see how she does on the grass, how she handles it,” Mandella said Wednesday morning.

A sufficient effort in the Osunitas could lead to a start in the Grade II $200,000 Yellow Ribbon, also at  1 1/16 miles on the turf, on Saturday, August 4.

The field from the rail: Paradise Woods (Flavien Prat, 7-2), Melissa Jane (Brice Blanc, 20-1), Amboseli (Victor Espinoza, 12-1), Pantsonfire (Kent Desormeaux, 9-2), Psyco Sister (William Antongeorgi III, 30-1), Lynne’s Legacy (Rafael Bejarano, 12-1), Compelled (Drayden Van Dyke,4-1), Fizzy Friday (Geovanni Franco, 8-1), Achira (Gary Stevens, 20-1), Evo Campo (Heriberto Figueroa, 20-1), Midnight Crossing (Corey Nakatani, 8-1) and Fahan Mura (Edwin Maldonado, 5-1). Also Eligible: Vexatious (Rafael Bejarano, 20-1) and Barleysugar (Tyler Baze, 10-1).


CLOSERS – Chris Merz, Stakes Coordinator at Del Mar for the past two years, is now the Racing Secretary for Pimlico and Laurel in Maryland. Ed Reese takes over the position here. Reese, 64, has been involved in the sport  for 35 years and has held racing office positions at Los Alamitos and Santa Anita during that time. … Selected works from 134 officially timed Wednesday morning: Dr. Dorr (3f, :37.60), Dream Tree (3f, :35.00), Der Lu (5f, :59.20), Abel Tasman (6f, 1:12.0), American Anthem (6f, 1:12.40) and Roy H (6f, 1:14.60) … Tom Whayne, 93, was on hand for Opening Day, his 67th straight such appearance.