Trainer Vann Belvoir and jockey Chantal Sutherland notched their
first career victories at Del Mar when Mentidoso charged down the
stretch to a 2 ¾-length score in Wednesday’s sixth race.
“It was an amazing feeling to get a win at the meeting on opening
day,” Belvoir, 37, said. “We ran one earlier on the card (Guiseppe G. in
the third race) and he kind of got stuck on the lead and on the rail
where the going was pretty deep. So when (Mentidoso) started moving at
the three-eighths pole we all got excited.”
Sutherland has two wins in three rides for Belvoir. The main
connection between the two is Sutherland’s agent, Brian Beach. Beach and
Belvoir broke in together – first rider represented, first
agent-representative – in Washington state. One of the highlights of the
partnership, Beach remembered, was Belvoir winning the last stakes race
at Longacres before the track closed down.
Beach said he had a hard time communicating with Sutherland between
races Wednesday because of all the media and public focus on her first
day as a full-meeting track regular. But they didn’t miss connecting.
“She texted right after the race how happy she was to win here,” Beach said.
Sutherland’s victory came four races after Kayla Stra, who debuted at
Del Mar in 2008, won the second race, and made it the first time that
two female jockeys had won races on the same card.
“I know Chantal was happy for Kayla,” Beach said.
Mentidoso, whose six previous starts, with one victory, had all come
at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, was claimed away from Belvoir by Jack
Carava. “It worked out well,” Belvoir said. “The amount you get from the
claim and the win is good and you can’t take that (victory) away.”