Michael Jawl’s Celtic New Year, lightly-weighted at 114 pounds under
jockey Victor Espinoza, fought off the stretch challenge of Bourbon Bay,
the 121 pound highweight and 3-5 favorite, to win the 72nd running of the Grade II $200,000 Del Mar Handicap Sunday, the day of the $1 million Pacific
Celtic New Year, sent to the gate at 9-2 in the field of six older
Thoroughbreds, displayed his determination in winning by a head over
Bourbon Bay, piloted by Joe Talamo. Third, only a head farther back, was
the fast-closing Imponente Purse, with Chantal Sutherland aboard.
Celtic New Year, a four-year-old Kentuicky-bred gelding by North
Light trained by John Sadler, ran the mile and three-eighths over the
infield grass course in 2:14.92 and returned $11, $4.20 and $2.80. It
was his fifth win in 17 starts and first money of $120,000 increased his
career bankroll to $294,422.
Additionally, the Del Mar Handicap is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win
and You’re In” program whereby the winner is entitled to automatic entry
in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, a waiver of pre-entry and entry fees, a
value of $90,000, and a travel stipend of $10,000.
Bourbon Bay, winner of the Cougar II Handicap earlier this summer,
turned in another game effort to be second, paying $2.60 and $2.10,
while third place Imponente Purse paid $2.80 to show. Make Music for Me