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Gervinho, Rising Legend In Fine Shape

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 around.

 “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 Oceanside.

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 turf race.

‘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 Julien Leparoux.

“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.

 

 

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