Chantal Sutherland will ride Parable and Mike Smith will be aboard Joker
Face in Sunday’s ‘Battle of the Exes’ match race. The riding assignments and
post positions -- Smith and Joker Face got No. 1-- were determined via a blind
draw early this afternoon in the Del Mar walking ring that preceded a press
conference with the former fiancées.
That there is true fire in the feelings and cause to the competitiveness of
the once romantically linked pair was made clear even before the draw.
“I want to propose that this be a winner-take-all (purse money) race,” Smith
said. “In the words of Ricky Bobby (from the movie Talladega Nights), if you
ain’t first, you’re last.”
Sutherland accepted the challenge, but offered a codicil that remains to be
“If you beat me, we go to the restaurant of my choice and I’ll pick the
wine. You taught me about doing that.”
Joker Face and Parable are both 3-year-old geldings seeking their first
career wins. Joker Face, trained by Peter Eurton and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Marc
C. Ferrell, has started four times with two runner-up finishes for
earnings of $16,660. Parable, trained by Carla Gaines for Swift Thoroughbreds Inc.,
has raced eight times and finished second once and third on two occasions for
earnings of $21,940.
An additional 3-year-old maiden gelding, Tapfortexas, is the “also eligible”
and will substitute if necessary if either Joker Face or Parable are unable to
run. Tapfortexas, trained by Mike Machowsky for owner Dale Taylor, has a record
of 7 0-1-1 with earnings of $15,024.
The race is a $40,000 maiden claimer with a $31,000 purse, and both horses
will carry 121 pounds. It will be either the third or fourth race on the card,
depending on the number of races scheduled when entries are taken on Thursday.
The match race will be positioned to precede and not be a part of the Pick Six.
The draw set up a male versus female scenario, with Smith and Eurton on one
side and Sutherland-Gaines the other, reminiscent of the “Battle of the Sexes”
staged at Del Mar in 2003. That match race was between Julie Krone and Patrick
Valenzuela, with Valenzuela winning by a nose, the narrowest margin since Del
Mar’s first match race, won by Seabiscuit over Ligaroti in 1938.
The ‘Battle of the Exes’ will be the fifth match race in track history.
Between Seabiscuit-Ligaroti and the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ was the “Showdown at
the Seashore” in 1994 in which Soviet Problem was an easy winner over Mamselle
Babette and the 2002 :”Mule Duel at Del Mar” in which Black Ruby defeated