Heinz Steinmann’s royally-bred Creative Cause, a $135,000 Keeneland yearling buy last September, made it two-for-two in his brief career and stamped himself a two-year-old to watch on the national scene with a powerful victory in the featured $150,000 Best Pal Stakes Sunday.
The Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, stalked the dueling leaders, I’ll Have Another and Brigand, until the top of the stretch where he moved to the outside and unleashed a rally which propelled him to an easy, 1 ¾ victory. I’ll Have Another held on well to be second, 3 ¼ lengths in front of third-place Mighty Monsoon, with Brigand a fading fourth, another 4 ¼ lengths back in the field of six juveniles. Curfew Tower was a scratch from the original field.
Creative Cause, trained by Mike Harrington, who won the race in 1996 with Swiss Yodeler, sped the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.62, fastest time for the race since Polytrack was installed as Del Mar’s main track surface in 2007.
Creative Cause, on the basis of a quick maiden victory at Hollywood Park in mid-July, went postward the 4-5 favorite and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10 while picking up a check for $90,000. I’ll Have Another paid $5 and $4.20, while Mighty Monsoon returned $4.80 to show.
Because of strong wagering to show on the winner, there was a minus show pool of $6,276.
The Best Pal Stakes is the final steppingstone to the Grade I $250,000 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on closing day, Wednesday, September 7.
Sunday’s attendance, bolstered by interest in the “Battle of the Exes” match race won by Mike Smith over former fiancee Chantal Sutherland, was 19,712, compared to 15,913 on a comparable day last summer.
With a carryover of $145,934 from Saturday, $1,191,835 in “new” money was wagered on Sunday’s Pick Six for a grand total of $1,337,769. And, there were 77 perfect tickets and each paid $10,159.