Got Stormy Prevails in Grade I Matriarch Stakes

Got Stormy © Benoit Photo

Gary Barber’s Got Stormy, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, strengthened her claim to year-end honors as the top female runner over grass in 2019 with an authoritative victory in the featured Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes on Sunday, closing day of Del Mar’s fall Bing Crosby season.

Always well-positioned in mid-pack, Got Stormy moved powerfully into contention on the far turn, came to the outside in the stretch to assume command from Juliet Foxtrot and wasn’t seriously threatened by the fast-closing Daddy Is a Legend, winning by three-quarters of a length.

Got Stormy’s time of 1:34.24 was the fastest for the Matriarch Stakes since it was first run at Del Mar in 2014. The race previously was held at Hollywood Park.

Daddy Is a Legend, ridden by Manny Franco, was three-quarters of a length in front of third-place Juliet Foxtrot, with Toinette fourth in the field of eleven fillies and mares.

Got Stormy, a four-year-old daughter of Get Stormy trained by Mark Casse,  registered her eighth success in 18 starts and first prize of $180,000 pushed her earnings to $1,430,578. She came into the Matriarch from a second-place to Uni in the Breeders’ Cup Mile a month ago.

Got Stormy returned $4.80, $3.20 and $2.40. Daddy Is a Legend paid $5.60 and $3.60, while Juliet Foxtrot returned $3.60 to show.

TYLER GAFFALIONE (Got Stormy, winner) – “Funny. I told Mark (Casse, trainer) in the paddock: ‘I think this race might set up just like the Fourstardave (at Saratoga on August 10 where she came from well back to win easily). And if it does, we’ll win.’ Sure enough, it was exactly like that race. Perfect. She just sat back there nice and relaxed and then when it came time she was gone.”

MANUEL FRANCO (Daddy Is a Legend, second) – “I got squeezed at the start and I just clipped the heels of the 10 horse (Giza Goddess) just a bit. Then I was too far back and there was too much to do. It was unfortunate.”

FLORENT GEROUX (Juliet Foxtrot, third) – “She ran a good race. No excuses. The winner was best today.”

MARK CASSE (Got Stormy, winner) – “She’s amazing. Put her on a van, put her on a plane, she just goes wherever and runs. We kept hearing that she’d only won one Grade I, so we had to fix that. She’s been through a lot in the last month but she just keeps fighting. You don’t get a lot like her.  She’ll definitely stay in training next year.”

FRACTIONS:  :22.55  :45.55  1:10.18  1:22.30  1:34.24

The stakes win was the first at Del Mar for rider Gaffalione.

The stakes win was the first of the meet and first in the Matriarch for trainer Casse. He now has eight stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winning owner is Gary Barber of Los Angeles, CA.

The winning time (1:34.24) is the fastest running of the race since it has shifted to Del Mar.


Mark Casse © Benoit Photo


Got Stormy had her head out over the stall webbing Sunday morning, a braid in her forelock dangling down one side of her chestnut face.

Trainer Mark Casse smiled, stepped up to make a small adjustment, brushing the braid to the side, then addressed the question posed to him. What were the similarities and differences of the the 4-year-old filly, the 5-2 morning line favorite for Sunday’s Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes, to recent standouts like Tepin, Lexie Lou and Wonder Gadot that he had conditioned?

“I think Got Stormy has proven herself to be pretty exceptional,” Casse said. “I think she did that at Saratoga this summer when she came back off seven days rest and won the Fourstar Dave against the boys and broke the track record by almost a second.

“That made her a Grade I winner and that puts her in a special category in my book.”

Being placed in the company of Tepin, female turf champion of 2015-16 and Wonder Gadot, the Canadian champion 2-year-old filly of 2017 who went on to win the first two legs of that country’s Triple Crown at 3, is high praise. But Casse sees some similarities.

“She’s probably a little more like Tepin than Wonder Gadot,” Casse said. “Tepin was able to make her own racing luck a lot of times because of her tactical speed. She didn’t do that when she was younger, but as she got older she did. And so has (Got Stormy).

“I think one of the keys to Got Stormy getting better is her mind. When she was a 2 and 3-year-old she was a little on the nervous side and things bothered her. She’s gotten to be an old pro now.”

Got Stormy, owned by Gary Barber, followed the Fourstar Dave victory with runner-up finishes in the Woodbine Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile, the latter on November 2 at Santa Anita. The Matriarch had long been under consideration and Casse said the long-range forecasts of rain at Del Mar, realized when three inches came down over a two-day period at midweek, weren’t a deterrent to Got Stormy making her first Del Mar appearance.

“It was a concern,” Casse said. “But if it (turf course) was a bog, we would have scratched and sent her back (east). Gary never puts pressure on us about things like that, he always wants to do what’s right. I thought the turf was pretty darn good (Saturday). I think she’ll be fine on it.”

Casse is always glad to come to Del Mar, a place he’s likened to heaven on earth for trainers based on experiences when he brought a string out for the entire 2014 season and ship-ins for major races since. Casse saddled four stakes winners in 2014, won the Del Mar Oaks (Dream Dancing) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (World Approval) in 2017 and took the Del Mar Derby with Ride a Comet in 2018.

His 2014 venture was to avail his stable of the final synthetic surface season before Del Mar and Santa Anita switched back to dirt surfaces. With a return to synthetics in California being a topic of discussion, Casse will be an interested observer from his bases in the east. He’s clear about his personal preference, however.

“I personally think the day of dirt racing should be history,” Casse said. “My hope would be that we could get California to go back to synthetics and maybe we can get New York to follow. Kentucky will be the hardest, they call them Kentucky hard boots for a reason.”


$100,000 Grade III Jimmy Durante. Paco Lopez, in from Florida, notched the first of his three stakes wins on the day aboard Alms for trainer Michael Stidham. Laura’s Light, trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Abel Cedillo, was second.

“I brought him out here and then he beats me in the Durante,” said Miller with a laugh later. “I love Paco. He’s a great rider and great person.”

Questions about how the turf course held up through days of rain were answered.

“The course was good,” Lopez said. “I’d heard about all the rain here, but the course was very good. Not soft; just right.”

$100,000 Grade III Red Carpet. Zuzanna, a 5-year-old mare claimed for $8,000 and nurtured through a throat problem that required surgery, got an ideal trip under Lopez and pulled off a $48 upset. Trainer Bob Hess, Jr. did the claiming for his longtime friend, TVG host Kurt Hoover, and other pals. Hess planned to send Zuzanna to Florida to race next week but opted for the Red Carpet at Hoover’s suggestion.

“It’s not about necessarily winning a stakes race, it’s about doing it with your friends and family,” Hess said. “And Zuzanna is part of our family.

“It’s wonderful that in our game the way it is right now, with all the issues we’ve had … This filly is getting up there in age, and she is pristine healthy from every possible aspect.”

$200,000 Grade II Seabiscuit. Next Shares, a 6-year-old Archarcharch gelding who had lost six straight since his 2019 debut in January at Santa Anita, pulled off a $56.40 upset under Jose Validivia, Jr., for trainer Richard Baltas.

It was the 12th stakes win at Del Mar overall but the first in seven years for Valdivia, who turns 45 on December 8.

Baltas said the rain-softened turf was definitely a factor in Next Shares’ favor – “For him it’s always good to have a little cut in the ground” – as was a good trip.

“I never gave up on him,” Baltas said. “He just had a couple of bad trips.”

$300,000 Grade I Hollywood Derby – Lopez capped his big day, this time to Miller’s benefit, guiding Mo Forza to a three-quarter length victory.

Said Lopez: “Here I am. Del Mar. Big horses. Good jockeys. And I get to win three stakes. You’ve got to be lucky. I was today.”


Drayden Van Dyke and Abel Cedillo notched one win each on the Saturday program to remain tied for the lead atop the jockey standings. Van Dyke has 12 wins from 50 mounts, Cedillo 12 from 61.

Flavien Prat and Rafael Bejarano, winless from a combined 13 mounts Saturday, are tied for third with eight wins and will need a daily win total approaching the track record to get a share or win outright.

Cedillo and Prat are scheduled to ride seven of the 10 races on the closing day card, Van Dyke and Bejarano six each.

Richard Baltas and Peter Miller saddled one winner each on Saturday, allowing Baltas to maintain a four-win advantage, 10-6 over Miller, and all-but-mathematically wrap up his second Del Mar training title. Baltas’ first was shared with Phil D’Amato in the summer of 2017. Barring a comeback, Miller will have a streak of three straight Bing Crosby training titles ended.

Baltas has three representatives on the final card, Miller five.

CLOSERS – Racing returns to Del Mar for the 81st summer season July 18 to September 7, 2020 and the seventh Bing Crosby season October 31 – November 29 … Thanks to all Stable Notes readers. Happy Holidays and good luck to all.

Del Mar Daily Results and Activity


Sunday, December 1
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $52,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Cecil B. DeMille S. $100,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $55,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Hollywood Turf Cup S. $200,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Claiming – $12,500 $22,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Matriarch S. $300,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $52,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $52,000 Overnight Overnight



Toinette © Benoit Photo


The odds delineate the situation for Neil Drysdale-trained Toinette in Sunday’s Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes, the culmination of the seven-stakes “Turf Festival” that begins with four graded events Saturday.

Toinette, based at Del Mar or Santa Anita for an entire four-race 2019 campaign that began with an allowance win here in August, is the 7-2 third choice on Russ Hudak’s morning line. The first, second and fourth and fifth choices, – the only others in the field of 11 starting off at single-figure odds – are all invaders from the east.

They are: Got Stormy (5-2), Juliet Foxtrot (3-1), Significant Form (9-2) and Daddy Is a Legend (8-1).

But if Toinette, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Scat Daddy who will be ridden by Flavien Prat, is cast in the role of local hope, that hope is very legitimate.

“She fits,” said Prat’s agent Derek Lawson. “She fits very well. The shippers are very good and they’ve got Grade I experience and Got Stormy has a Grade I win. But Toinette ran a huge race in the Goldikova and we think she’s going to be one of the best turf mares in the country next year.”

A $110,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2016, Toinette made her only start as a 2-year-old at the 2017 Del Mar fall meeting. A three-year-old campaign of four wins in five starts started and ended at Santa Anita with assignments in Kentucky and New York in between.

A racing break from October of 2018 to August of this year ended with a comeback win in an allowance at Del Mar which was followed by a third in the Grade II John C. Mabee here and wins in the ungraded Swingtime and Grade II Goldikova at Santa Anita. All except the Mabee have been at the one mile distance of the Matriarch.

Prat has been aboard for six of Toinette’s last eight starts, the times absent due to conflicting commitments on standout mare Vasilika.

“Toinette has always been a horse we’ve wanted to stay close to,” Lawson said. “This (Matriarch) is obviously is the biggest race of her career to this point, but we’re looking forward to it. She’s got an explosive turn of foot. When Flavien sets her down, she really responds.”

The field from the rail: Storm the Hill (Rafael Bejarano, 20-1), Lakerball (Evin Roman, 30-1), Significant Form (John Velazquez, 9-2), Mucho Unusual (Abel Cedillo, 15-1), Toinette (Flavien Prat, 7-2), Simply Breathless (Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1), Got Stormy (Tyler Gaffalione, 5-2), Painting Corners (Paco Lopez, 30-1), Daddy Is A Legend (Manuel Franco, 8-1), Giza Goddess (Brice Blanc, 20-1) and Juliet Foxtrot (3-1).

The Matriarch goes as the seventh of 10 races on a Sunday program starting at noon.


The Jimmy Durante course will be listed as “good” for Saturday’s first four of seven graded stakes that constitute the Turf Festival on the final two days of the Bing Crosby fall meeting.

The grounds at Del Mar have been inundated with 4 ½ inches of rain over the past two weeks and turf racing was limited to preserve the surface for the stakes bonanza. Sunny and windy conditions Friday, when all races were contested on the main track, helped dry the course enough to merit the “good” rating that turf superintendent Leif Dickinson predicted in an interview with Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“It’s going to be on the softer side, but good,” Dickinson said.

It passed the eye test from horsemen sending out workers on the main track Saturday morning.

“It looks fine,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill. “There was a lot of rain on it, and if this were a new turf course I might be worried. But it’s been here for a long time and it looks good to me.”

The four stakes races on the Saturday program will be run on the turf course but the 10th race, a maiden special mile, will be switched to the main track to preserve the grass for Sunday’s final three stakes. As a result of the change, scratches reduced the field from 14 to eight.

The main track, which was listed as “good” for the first seven races on Friday before being upgraded to “fast” for the final two, remains “fast.”


Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will send out Goliad in the Grade III $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes for 2-year-olds and United in the Grade II $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Sunday.

“They’re two nice young colts that we’ve had a lot of hopes for,” Mandella said Saturday morning. “We hope those hopes will be fulfilled.”

Goliad, a Ramona Bass homebred son of War Front, debuted at Santa Anita on September 28 with a neck victory in a turf mile and was beaten a neck by DeMille rival Hariboux under similar conditions at Del Mar 16 days ago. The DeMille is also a mile on turf.

“He’s a big, growing, immature colt that hopefully will get better as he goes,” Mandella said.

United, a winner of three of 10 lifetime starts with earnings of $822,891 for owners LNJ Foxwoods, was edged in the final strides by Horse of the Year candidate Bricks and Mortar in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup  Turf on November 2 at Santa Anita.

“He has been training well since,” Mandella said. “The weather hasn’t affected us any more than anybody else. We missed one day of training, but that’s it.”

Mandella said he’ll leave assessing the competition and strategizing until race day.

“No sense losing any sleep before you have to,” Mandella said.


Drayden Van Dyke notched one win and Rafael Bejarano scored twice as racing resumed Friday. The win allowed Van Dyke to forge a tie for the lead in the jockey standings. The double moved Bejarano into strong contention for the riding championship entering the final two days of the meeting.

Van Dyke’s victory aboard Bold Endeavor ($38.00) in the seventh race moved him back into a tie for the lead with Abel Cedillo. Van Dyke has 11 wins from 43 mounts, Cedillo the same number from 54 rides.

Bejarano, who counts the 2015 Bing Crosby meeting among his six Del Mar jockey titles, won aboard Don’tteasethetiger (3rd, $13.40) and Winning Element (4th, $9.40) to move into a tie for third with Flavien Prat. Bejarano has eight wins from 42 mounts, Prat is 8-for-38.

Prat is booked to ride eight of the 10 races Saturday. Cedillo and Van Dyke each have seven mounts and Bejarano five.

None of the training leaders saddled a winner on Friday, leaving Richard Baltas with a 9-5 lead over Peter Miller and Mike Puype atop the standings. Baltas is 9-for-30 and Miller 5-for-25, while Puype has hit with half of his 10 starters.

Baltas is scheduled to saddle 10 representatives on Saturday, Miller will send out four and Puype two.

CLOSERS – The Pick Six carryover for Saturday’s card, after there were no tickets with six on Friday, is $125,176. The Pick Six begins with the fifth race … Joe Talamo, two wins shy of career No. 2,000, is booked to ride four on Saturday, among them Uncle Bull for Mark Casse in the Grade I Hollywood Derby.

Next Shares Upsets in Seabiscuit Handicap

Next Shares © Benoit Photo

Rallying on the rail into and through the stretch, 26-1 longshot Next Shares and jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr., won the Grade II $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap Saturday.

When the leading horses drifted out turning into the stretch, Next Shares took advantage of the opportunity to surge to the lead and then had enough left to resist the late challenge of 3-2 favored Sacred Life and win by a half-length in 1:42.00 flat for the mile and one-sixteenth over the infield grass course.

River Boyne was third, a head back of the runner-up and a length and one-half in advance of fourth-place Majestic Eagle in the field of nine older runners. Cleopatra’s Strike was scratched.

Owned by Iavarone, McClanahan and Dunn and trained by Richard Baltas, Next Shares, a Kentucky-bred son of Archarcharch, scored his seventh victory in 29 starts. First money of $120,000 increased his career bankroll to $1,677,771.

Next Shares paid $56.40, $14.40 and $8. Sacred Life returned $3.40 and $2.60, while River Boyne returned $3.80 to show.

JOSE VALDIVIA, JR. (Next Shares, winner) – “I had to wait for room (on the turn). I was between Flavien (Prat on River Boyne) and Johnny (Velazquez on Ritzy A.P.). When Flavien went one way, I went the other.  The hole opened up for me and this horse was there. I knew I was on a lot of horse all the way. I just needed a spot to run.”

JAVIER CASTELLANO (Sacred Life, second) – “I had to check pretty good near the quarter. And it’s a short stretch here and I just didn’t have enough time to get there in the end.”

FLAVIEN PRAT (River Boyne, third) – “He ran a good race.”

RICHARD BALTAS (Next Shares, winner) – “I think f-or him it’s always good to have a little cut in the ground. He doesn’t like the firm turf, he likes it a little softer. It was very rewarding. I never gave up on him (1 for 7 in 2019); he just had a couple bad trips. I didn’t do any rain dances. I’m running seven or eight horses on the grass and those that like it will run well and those that don’t won’t. This horse was ready today and had a great trip.”

FRACTIONS:  :23.51  :47.96  1:12.11  1:35.97  1:42.00

The stakes win was the first of the meet and the first in the Seabiscuit for rider Valdivia.

He now has 12 stakes wins at Del Mar (the last coming in 2012).

The stakes win was second of the meet, but first in the Seabiscuit for trainer Baltas. He now has 13 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winning owners are Michael Iavarone of Halesite, NY, and Jerry McClanahan and Chris Dunn.

Mo Forza, Lopez Win Grade I Hollywood Derby

Mo Forza © Benoit Photo

Providing jockey Paco Lopez with his third graded stakes victory of the afternoon, Mo Forza, the 5-2 betting choice, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the featured Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Saturday.

Well-positioned from the start of the nine-furlong grass contest while saving ground, Mo Forza engaged pacesetting Neptune’s Storm at the top of the stretch and gradually wore down his rival in the final furlong, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:48.57.

It was Mo Forza’s third straight win, having broken his maiden in late September at Santa Anita and then winning the Grade II Twilight Derby on Breeders’ Cup weekend at odds of 18-1.

Neptune’s Storm, game in defeat under jockey Abel Cedillo, was a half-length in front of third-place Standard Deviation, with Digital Age a rallying fourth in the field of a dozen three-year-olds. Kingly was scratched.

Mo Forza, a son of Uncle Mo, is owned and was bred in Kentucky by the Bardy Farm of Barry and Dyan Abrams. Co-owner is OG Boss, nom de course of Onofrio Pecoreio. The colt is trained by Peter Miller.

Earning a prize of $180,000 with his third success in eight starts, Mo Forza returned $7.60, $4.60 and $3.40. Neptune’s Storm paid $6.40 and $4.20, while Standard Deviation returned $5 to show.

Lopez’s previous stakes winners Saturday were Alms in the Jimmy Durante and Zuzanna in the Red Carpet.

PACO LOPEZ (Mo Forza, winner) – “You can look good when you’re riding the best horse in the race. You’ve just got to get lucky (and get on that horse). I was using my hands on him during the running. I took a bit of a hold on him.  I think he liked my hands. When we made the lead (in the stretch), he was waiting (on other horses). But we got busy. Today was a special day for me. (This was his third stakes win on the afternoon.) Here I am:  Del Mar. Big horses. Good jockeys. And I get to win three stakes. You’ve got to be lucky.  I was today.;”

ABEL CEDILLO (Neptune’s Storm, second) – “He broke good, and nobody seemed to want the lead so I took it. He was running easy and I thought we’d get there. He ran great. That was a hard one to lose.”

JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Standard Deviation, third) – “We ran out of racetrack. We just got a little too far back. I had a good trip otherwise.”

PETER  MILLER (Mo Forza, winner) – “Really nice horse and a super ride. He got banged pretty good coming out of the gate but he came back strong. I think it’s just maturity (for improvement in last two starts). I’d like to say it was some genius trainer move, but I’d be lying. I’ve always been high on this horse. He’s always shown a lot of ability but it has taken time for him to put it all together, but we knew he had it in him.”

FRACTIONS:  :23.90  :48.22  1:12.44  1:36.62  1:48.57

The stakes win was the third of the meet (and third of the afternoon), but first in the Hollywood Derby for rider Lopez. He now has three stakes wins at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the second of the meet, but first in the Hollywood Derby for trainer Miller. He now has 29 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The owners of Mo Forza are Bardy Farm of Barry and Dyan Abrams, along with OG Boss, which is the nom du course for Onofrio Pecoreio.

Del Mar Daily Results and Activity


Saturday, November 30
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $32,000 $22,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Jimmy Durante S. $100,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $53,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Red Carpet H. $100,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Seabiscuit H. $200,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $52,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Hollywood Derby $300,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $52,000 Overnight Overnight

Final Entries

Sunday, December 1
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $52,000
Race 3 Cecil B. DeMille S. $100,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $55,000
Race 5 Hollywood Turf Cup S. $200,000
Race 6 Claiming – $12,500 $22,000
Race 7 Matriarch S. $300,000
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $52,000
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $52,000

Del Mar Daily Results and Activity


Friday, November 29
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight $52,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $40,000 $28,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 3 Claiming – $16,000 $20,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 4 Claiming – $32,000 $33,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 5 Maiden Claiming – $50,000 $29,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 6 Maiden Claiming – $32,000 $22,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 7 Starter Allowance – $50,000 $30,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 8 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000 Overnight Overnight
Race 9 Maiden Claiming – $32,000 $22,000 Overnight Overnight

Early Entries

Sunday, December 1 Overnight
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight $52,000
Race 3 Cecil B. DeMille S. $100,000
Race 4 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $55,000
Race 5 Hollywood Turf Cup S. $200,000
Race 6 Claiming – $12,500 $22,000
Race 7 Matriarch S. $300,000
Race 8 Maiden Special Weight $52,000
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $52,000

Final Entries

Saturday, November 30
Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Maiden Claiming – $32,000 $22,000
Race 2 Jimmy Durante S. $100,000
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming – $80,000 $53,000
Race 4 Red Carpet H. $100,000
Race 5 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $53,000
Race 6 Seabiscuit H. $200,000
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $52,000
Race 8 Hollywood Derby $300,000
Race 9 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000
Race 10 Maiden Special Weight $52,000

Grade I Hollywood Derby Headlines Stakes Bonanza at Del Mar

Mo Forza © Benoti Photo

Featuring the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby as the headliner of a ten-race program Saturday, Del Mar will present a bonanza of stakes events on the final weekend of the 2019 fall Bing Crosby season.

In addition to the Hollywood Derby which attracted 13 three-year-olds competing at nine furlongs on the infield grass course, three other stakes will be run, also on turf – the Grade III $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes for two-year-old fillies at one mile; the Grade III $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap at a mile and three-eighths for older fillies and mares, and the Grade II $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap for older Thoroughbreds at a mile and one-sixteenth.

Post time for the first race Saturday will be half-an-hour earlier than usual, at 12 noon. The meeting is scheduled to conclude Sunday, the closing-day card topped by the Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes for older fillies and mares. Post time Sunday also will be 12 noon for the first of ten races.

The Hollywood Derby lured a quartet of highly-regarded invaders from the East Coast to take on the locally-based sophomores – the Chad Brown-trained duo of Irish-bred Digital Age and Standard Deviation, plus the Mark Casse-conditioned Uncle Bull and Mr Dumas from the barn of trainer John Ortiz.

Much-improved Mo Forza, an 18-1 upset winner of the Twilight Derby a month ago at Santa Anita, will be seeking to prove that triumph was no fluke. Six sophomores who chased him home that afternoon are also entered Saturday – Succeedandsurpass, second; Neptune’s Storm, third; Henley’s Joy, fourth; Kingly, fifth; Originaire, seventh and Nolde, eleventh. Completing the Derby line-up are Proud Pedro and Moody Jim.

Morning line-maker Russ Hudak made Neptune’s Storm the lukewarm 9-2 favorite in a wide-open Hollywood Derby, followed by Mo Forza at 5-1.

In the Jimmy Durante Stakes, Hudak pegged Princess Caroline as the early choice at 7-2, while Siberian Iris is 5-2 on the Red Carpet line and Sacred Life is also at 5-2 as the favorite in the Seabiscuit Handicap.



Got Stormy © Breeders’ Cup


Chad Brown, No. 1 trainer in America by money earnings, has shipped five horses for the final weekend stakes of the Bing Crosby meeting. He’ll have two from his stable in the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby on Saturday and one in the Grade I $300,000 Matriarch on Sunday.

Brad Cox, No. 4 by earnings nationally, has brought one from the Midwest to Del Mar for the second time in three months to run in the Matriarch.

Mark Casse, No. 5 nationally, has dispatched one from Canada for the Derby and another from Florida for the Matriarch

The forecast for major storms bringing heavy rains to Del Mar at midweek, which forced cancellation of the Thanksgiving Day card and rescheduling of two of the seven graded stakes on the final days of the meeting, apparently didn’t dampen the spirits of three of the top five trainers in the country. Not when there’s the prestige of the two events of the highest rank in racing as enticement.

“I couldn’t speak for Mark, but I don’t think there was any (serious thoughts about not shipping),” Shane Tripp, assistant to Casse, said Wednesday morning. “I didn’t hear anything anyway. The rain is supposed to let up for Saturday and Sunday, so I believe we’ll have a shot there.”

The shippers from the east arrived on Monday night and spent the next two days getting acclimated to new surroundings and galloping over the Del Mar track under mostly sunny skies. Both Tripp and Jose Hernandez, assistant to Brown, said the journeys were mostly uneventful and the horses have settled in well.

Casse has sent Uncle Bull, a lightly-raced son of Uncle Mo owned by Gary Barber and John Oxley, for the Hollywood Derby. Four of Uncle Bull’s five starts have been on turf, the other on the synthetic of Woodbine. He has three wins, among them his last two starts, but the Hollywood Derby will be his first stakes-level test.

Got Stormy, a 4-year-old daughter of Get Stormy, has career earnings of more than $1.2 million from 17 lifetime starts. Nearly $1 million of that has come in 2019, a seven-race campaign begun in March. In her last three starts, all at the Grade I level, Got Stormy won the Grade I Fourstar Dave at Saratoga in August, was second in the Grade I Woodbine Mile in October and the runner-up in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on November 2.

All three were against males. The Fourstar Dave came one week after a victory against females in the De La Rose.

“She’s been solid all year,” Tripp said of Got Stormy. “What she did at Saratoga, winning two stakes a week apart, kind of speaks for itself. She shows up every time.

“(Uncle Bull) has won his last two and we’re looking forward to leading him over there on Saturday. We couldn’t be more excited for either one of them.”

Brown, whose stable has turf talent in such depth that is the envy of all west of the Atlantic Ocean, has won the Hollywood Derby in two of the last three years and the two most recent runnings of the Matriarch. He has Digital Age and Standard Deviation for the Derby and Significant Form for the Matriarch.

Standard Deviation, a son of Curlin, has three wins from nine career starts, two of them coming since a switch to turf four starts ago in June. His most recent races have produced a win in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth in August and third in the Grade II Hill Prince in October.

Digital Age, an Irish-bred colt, won his first three career starts, capped by the Grade II American Turf at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, but has gone winless in four races since.

Significant Form, a 4-year-old daughter of Creative Cause, was fourth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf when Del Mar hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2017 and has competed at the stakes level in nine starts since. She comes in off wins in the Grade II Ballston Spa at Saratoga in August and the Noble Damsel at Belmont Park in September.

“They’ve all been training very well and we think they’re ready to go,” Hernandez said.

Cox had success sending 4-year-old filly Juliet Foxtrot from Kentucky to Del Mar for the Grade II John C. Mabee on August 31. The English-bred filly finished second, beaten a nose at the wire by Vasilika. The Juddmonte Farms-bred-and-owned filly was second to 2018 Matriarch winner Uni in the Grade I First Lady at Keeneland in October and has been training at Churchill Downs for a return trip to the West Coast.

The field for Hollywood Derby from the rail: Mo Forza (Paco Lopez), Kingly (Mario Gutierrez), Uncle Bull (Joe Talamo), Digital Age (Javier Castellano), Neptune’s Storm (Abel Cedillo), Nolde (Victor Espinoza), Proud Pedro (Tiago Pereira), Henley’s Joy (Drayden Van Dyke), Standard Deviation (John Velazquez), Moody Jim (Flavien Prat), Mr Dumas (Joe Rocco, Jr.,), Originaire (Heriberto Figueroa) and Succeedandsurpass (Rafael Bejarano).

The Hollywood Derby goes as the eighth on a 10-race card.

Close of entries for the Matriarch was Thursday morning with the post position draw to follow.


Racing resumes on Friday (November 29) featuring a nine-race card with all races on the main track starting at 12:30.

The Saturday and Sunday programs each will have 10 races and an earlier than usual 12 noon first post.

Seven graded stakes will be contested on the weekend, all on the turf, weather permitting.

Saturday’s stakes are the Grade III, $100,000 Jimmy Durante for 2-year-old fillies at one mile; Grade III, $100,000 Red Carpet for older fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles; Grade II, $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap for 3-and-up at 1 1/16 miles and the Grade I, $300,000 Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.

Sunday’s stakes are the Grade II $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup for 3-year-olds-and-up at 1 ½ miles; Grade III Cecil B. De Mille for 2-year-olds at one mile and the Grade I, $300,000 Matriarch Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile.


Fields of 14, eight and 10 were entered Wednesday for the three graded stakes leading up to the $300,000, Grade I Hollywood Derby on Saturday’s penultimate card of the meeting.

The Jimmy Durante Stakes, which goes as the second on the 10-race program, attracted 14 two-year-old fillies for the one mile turf run. From the rail: Lookintogeteven (Victor Espinoza), Alms (Paco Lopez), Awesome Ella (Tyler Baze), Laura’s Light (Abel Cedillo), Croughavouke (Flavien Prat), Overjoyed (Mike Smith), Homehome (Mario Gutierrez), Wise Rachel (Joe Talamo), Seahawk Lisa (Jorge Velez), A G Indy (Rafael Bejarano), Almost A Factor (Geovanni Franco), Princesa Caroline (Javier Castellano), Applecross (John Velazquez) and Guitty (Drayden Van Dyke).

The Red Carpet Handicap, which goes as the fourth on the card, has eight older fillies and mares entered for the 1 3/8-mile route. From the rail: Vibrance (J.C.Diaz, Jr.), Lostintranzlation (Flavien Prat), Strike At Dawn (Drayden Van Dyke), Tiny Tina (Geovanni Franco), Curlin’s Journey (Ruben Fuentes), Keeper Ofthe Stars (Abel Cedillo), Zuzanna (Paco Lopez) and Siberian Iris (Rafael Bejarano).

The Seabiscuit Handicap, race No. 6 on the day, attracted 10 older males for the

1 1/16-mile run. From the rail: River Boyne (Flavien Prat), Ritzy A.P. (John Velazquez), Next Shares (Jose Valdivia, Jr.), Om (Paco Lopez), Sacred Life (Javier Castellano), Majestic Eagle (Rafael Bejarano), Prince Earl (Geovanni Franco), Ronald R (Drayden Van Dyke), Cleopatra’s Strike (Abel Cedillo) and Andesh (Joe Talamo).


Abel Cedillo, continuing to validate the decision last summer to switch from the Northern to Southern California racing circuits, enters the final three days of the meeting with a one-win lead over Drayden Van Dyke atop the jockey standings.

Cedillo, a 30-year-old native of Guatemala, moved South at the behest of agent Tom Knust for the summer season here and finished third behind Flavien Prat in the standings with 25 wins in the 36-day meeting. Cedillo tied with Prat for the honors at the Santa Anita fall meeting and enters Friday’s program with 11 wins from 48 mounts, one better than Van Dyke (10-for-41) and three ahead of Prat (8-for-33).

Cedillo leap-frogged to the top with two wins on Sunday, while Van Dyke and Prat went winless.

Cedillo and Prat are scheduled to ride eight of the nine races on Friday, Van Dyke three.

Richard Baltas saddled North County Guy to win the seventh race on Sunday and extend his lead over Peter Miller in the trainer standings to four — 9-5. Baltas has one Del Mar training title, the 2017 summer shared with Phil D’Amato.

Baltas has two entered on Friday’s program. In a somewhat rare circumstance, Miller has none.


A pair of TVG racing hosts will be Del Mar’s handicapping guests this weekend when the track holds its free handicapping seminars this Saturday and Sunday. Because of the earlier 12 noon post for the 10-race weekend cards, the seminars will begin slightly sooner than normal at 11:15 a.m.

Kurt Hoover and Mike Joyce – two savvy racing experts with solid opinions – will offer their picks during the seminars.  Hoover will fill the bill on the Saturday card, while Joyce will step up on Sunday. The Sunday program is hosted by Frank Scatoni.

The seminars are held in the track’s Seaside Terrace area down by the rail in the proximity of the eighth pole.

CLOSERS – Training was conducted only on Del Mar’s half-mile training track Thursday morning as the second half of a northern storm brought more winds and rain to the San Diego area. The training track will be the way to go for joggers and gallopers Friday morning, also….After Sunday’s final card of the season, training will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on Del Mar’s main track. Following the Wednesday session, all horses are expected to be shipped off the grounds….From the “any port in a storm category:” Horse owner and racing enthusiast Jeffrey Strauss had to deal with a tragedy Wednesday when his award-winning restaurant, Pamplemousse Grille, located directly across the street from the racetrack, suffered major damage in a morning fire. Before the fire engines had finished their mop up, Strauss received a phone call from Barry Schneider, Del Mar caterer’s executive chef, offering his kitchen on the grounds and the track’s sixth-floor Il Palio restaurant for Strauss’ huge Thanksgiving clientele. Schneider shifted to another kitchen as Strauss began early Thursday morning to prepare 60 turkeys and all the trimming for 300 dinners, along with dozens of catering orders. And a Happy — if different — Thanksgiving was underway for all.