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Burns Shines Brightly in La Jolla

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Under a rousing ride by jockey Patrick Valenzuela, Burns held off the late charge of Lil Bit O”Fun to win the featured $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for three-year-olds Saturday.

Burns, runner-up to Mr. Commons in the opening-day Oceanside Stakes, rallied along the rail in the stretch to take a narrow lead and then withstood Lil Bit O’Fun near the wire to win by a neck in 1:42.36 for the mile and one-sixteenth over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

Thirtyfirststreet, who set the pace into the stretch, held on for third, a half-length behind the runner-up and the same margin in front of fourth-place Midnight Interlude, the 11-10 favorite piloted by Rafael Bejarano.

Burns, owned by Madeline Auerbach and Sonny Pais, is trained by Barry Abrams whose barn of horses was winless in 27 starts this summer. Abrams is recovering from recent surgery for throat cancer, but was on the Del Mar scene to saddle his entrant in the La Jolla.

Burns, a son of Unusual Heat, was second choice in the wagering at 7-2 and paid $9.20, $4.40 and $2.80 while earning $90,000 with his fourth win in a dozen races, expanding his career bankroll to $245,838.

Lil Bit O’Fun, with David Flores up, returned $8.80 and $3.80, while Thirtyfirststreet paid $3.80 to show.

The La Jolla Handicap is the last steppingstone to the $250,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 4.

Because there were no perfect tickets Saturday in the Pick Six, Sunday’s program will feature a carryover of  $142,756 starting with the fifth race.

Saturday’s attendance was 28,967.



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