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Busy Weekend for Mandella

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Trainer Richard Mandella, three-time winner of the Grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic, won't be sending out a horse in Del Mar's signature race on Saturday, but he will be busy saddling Crown of Thorns in the Grade I, $300,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes and Meteore in the Grade II, $250,000 Del Mar Mile.


To round out the weekend, the Hall of Fame conditioner will have Champ Pegasus and Worth Repeating in the Grade II, $200,000 Del Mar Handicap.


Of the four, Mandella seems to be leaning more strongly toward Crown of Thorns in the 7-furlong Pat OBrien. "I love Crown of Thorns," Mandella said. "He's been off a long time, but he's been training really well." In his five works here, Crown of Thorns shows a bullet 6 furlongs in 1:11 on August 8 and two 7-furlong works since.


The Pat O'Brien will be his first start since finishing second in a three-horse blanket finish in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint November 7.


Mandella is hopeful a brisk pace in the Del Mar Mile will set up Meteore's closing kick. "Things could be tough for him if there's not a lot of pace in the race," he said.


As for Champ Pegasus and Worth Repeating in the Del Mar Handicap, Mandella expressed pleasure at the way the son of Fusaichi Pegasus has been progressing, saying he passed his first class test with his second in Hollywood Park's Sunset Handicap. "He ran really well in the Sunset and he's been coming along well here," the trainer said.


Worth Repeating will be making his stakes debut and Mandella simply said, "I've always wanted to try him long, so I might as well do it here."




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