Got Stormy © Breeders’ Cup
SHIPPERS ADD INTRIGUE TO GRADE I STAKES ON THE FINAL WEEKEND
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.
A REMINDER ON THE REVISED CLOSING WEEKEND SCHEDULE
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 SET FOR THREE UNDERCARD STAKES ON SATURDAY
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).
CEDILLO, BALTAS ENTER CLOSING DAYS ATOP STANDINGS
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.
TVG’s HOOVER, JOYCE TOP EARLIER WEEKEND HANDICAPPING SEMINARS
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.