Gervinho and Rising Legend were deemed to be in fine shape the
morning after their strenuous winning efforts in the Oceanside Stakes.
Hopefully the same could be said for the 43,030 people who assembled
on-track and made Opening Day of the 74th summer racing season as festive as usual.
A string of eight straight years of larger opening-day crowds, and
four straight of track-record proportions was broken. But the fact that
it was the largest crowd of the year at a California track, the weather
was perfect and handle numbers were up from 2012 both on-track (2.5
percent) and from all-sources (4 percent) meant for smiles all the way
“Any time we get over 40,000 in here, I can’t complain, “ said Joe
Harper, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and CEO. “It was a lot
easier operating this year. We limited the sales in the high-end area of
the Turf Club, and I think that made a difference. “
Time off and/or one prep race may have made the difference for both
Gervinho and Rising Legend in close finishes in divisions of the
Gervinho took the first division by a neck over Greeley Awesome in
1:33.88 for the mile on turf. The margin was a head for Rising Legend
over a fast-closing Gabriel Charles. It was the second start of 2013 for
Gervinho, trained by Carla Gaines and owned by former California Horse
Racing Board Chairman Keith Brackpool, the first being a runner-up on
June 13 in the Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate Fields, also a one-mile
‘We were pointing for this race when we brought him back,” Gaines
said. “The race at San Francisco, he definitely needed the start. But it
set him up for (the Oceanside), it really did. He beat a tough field
and the time was really good.”
Thursday morning, Gaines said Gervinho was fine and the next race in
the Del Mar 3-year-old series, the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap on
Saturday, August 10, was a possible next start.
Trainer John Sadler said initial indications were that his three
Oceanside starters Rising Legend, Greeley Awesome and Joelito (seventh
in the second division) had come out of the race well.
Rising Legend, imported from England last fall, made his 2013 debut
in the Oceanside. Both Rising Legend and Greeley Awesome were ridden by
“We were a little unlucky in the first half (with Greeley Awesome) .
But he (Leparoux) is a really good rider and he got the bob in this
half, so it kind of made up for the first half,” Sadler said.