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Banned by a nose in Del Mar Derby

Banned and Garrett Gomez win the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky May 7, 2011.

Glen Hill Farm’s Banned, a classy invader from the Midwest, took the lead in the stretch, lost it briefly, then came on again in the final, desperate strides to nose out Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude and win the featured Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Derby Sunday.

With Garrett Gomez in the saddle, Banned, 9-10 favorite in a field of nine three-year-olds, took a short lead from the outside in the upper stretch and appeared on his way to a decisive triumph. However, Midnight Interlude, piloted by Rafael Bejarano, battled back courageously and was just outnodded at the wire. Third, only another half-length back, was Extensive, who was the same margin in front of fourth-place Cloud Man.

Banned, a son of Kitten’s Joy trained by Tom Proctor, raced the nine furlongs over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course in 1:47.93 and returned $3.80, $2.80 and $2.60 after scoring his fifth win in ten starts. First prize of $150,000 increased the colt’s earnings to $599,476.

The Del Mar Derby was his third stakes win, having won the American Turf and Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs. He followed those victories with a narrowly-beaten second in the West Virginia Derby and a third in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on August 13.

Midnight Interlude, victim of a tough loss, paid $3.60 and $3.60 after going to the gate as the 4-1 second choice. Third-place Extensive returned $6 to show.

Banned provided the Glen Hill Farm of owner Leonard Lavin with its third win in the Del Mar Derby, having won the race in l973 with Right Honorable and in l979 with Relaunch.

The race was marred by catastrophic injuries sustained by Burns, winner of the La Jolla Handicap this summer, in the run to the clubhouse turn. Burns suffered fractured sesamoid bones in his right foreleg and was humanely euthanized. Burns, a son of Unusual Heat, was owned by Madeline Auerbach and Sonny Pais and trained by Barry Abrams.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who rode Burns, suffered a slight strain to his right leg and was replaced aboard his remaining two mounts after examination in the track first aid station.

In the first of two supporting features on Sunday’s program, the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for three-year-old fillies, 5-2 second choice Great Hot and jockey Chantal Sutherland rallied in deep stretch to overhaul 9-10 favored Sugarinthemorning and her rider, Patrick Valenzuela, winning by almost a length in 1:35.88 for the mile on the main track.

Cathy’s Crunches was third, with Long Lake Krista fourth in the field of six fillies.

Great Hot, a Brazilian-bred daughter of Orientate owned by Coudelaria Jessica and trained by A.C. Avila, returned $7.60, $3.20 $2.60 while earning $60,000 with her third win in five lifetime outings. First money of $60,000 more than doubled her earnings to $111,265.

Sugarinthemorning, winner of the Fleet Treat Stakes in her previous race at Del Mar this summer, paid $2.40 and $2.10, while Cathy’s Crunches returned $2.80 to show.

For Sutherland, campaigning at Del Mar for the first time on a regular basis, Great Hot provided her with her initial stakes success at the seaside oval.

In the $95,385 Adoration Stakes for older fillies and mares, 9-10 favored St Trinians came through as expected, rallying from next-to-last to assert her superiority in the stretch to win by a half-length despite racing on the far outside for most of the one-mile journey.

Leading rider Joel Rosario was in the saddle on the English-bred daughter of Piccolo who was timed in 1:35.99 after scoring her eighth victory in 19 starts but first this year. Owned by Daniel Capen and Laura Chavers and trained by Mike Mitchell, she earned $54,171 to increase her bankroll to $440,758.

Downhill Diva was second and Victoryasecret third in the field of seven.

St Trinians returned $3.80, $3.20 and $2.60. Downhill Diva paid $6 and $4.20, while Victoryasecret paid $4.60 to show.

Because there were no perfect tickets in the Pick Six, Monday’s Labor Day program will have a carryover of 273,832. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m., with the Pick Six on races five through ten.


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