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Gotta Have Her Defends Palomar Title

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Green Lantern Stables' classy Gotta Have Her, a six-year-old mare whose middle name should be "consistency," scored her second straight triumph in Del Mar's Grade II $150,000 Palomar Handicap with a typically game performance Monday.

 

Sent to the gate as the even-money favorite in a field of five older fillies and mares, Gotta Have Her and jockey Mike Smith forged a neck victory over 11-1 longshot Go Forth North, with 9-5 second choice Lilly Fa Pootz third another half-length away.

 

Well-placed from the start of the mile and one-sixteenth grass race, Gotta Have Her swept to the lead in the upper stretch and appeared to be toying with her rivals coming to the wire. The daughter of Royal Academy ran the distance in 1:42.39, slower than the 1:40.67 recorded by her in 2009 because of a dawdling early pace Monday set by You Lift Me Up and jockey Patrick Valenzuela who stepped the first quarter in :26.24 and a half-mile in 50:04.  

 

You Lift Me Up, trained throughout her career by Jenine Sahadi, scored her tenth victory in 29 starts and first money of  $90,000 increased her earnings to $1,092,608.


She paid $4, $3 and $2.10; runner-up Go Forth North returned $5.80 and $2.60, while Lilly Fa Pootz paid $2.10 to show.

 

In the supporting feature, the $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for California-bred two-year-olds, 3-5 favored Bench Points and Rafael Bejarano got up in the final strides to win by a half-length in 1:10.28 for the six furlongs on the main track.

 

Swiss Tart, a 27-1 outsider, was second, a head in front of third-place Lucky Mr. K in the field of ten juveniles.

 

Bench Points, representing a partnership including Joanne Buss, wife of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, and trained by Tim Yakteen, paid $3.10, $2.80 and $2.20 after scoring his third win in as many starts. He won the Graduation Stakes a month ago at Del Mar. First money of $60,000 swelled the Benchmark colt's  bankroll to $144,600.

 

Swiss Tart paid $13.40 and $7, while Lucky Mr. K returned $5.60 to show.

 

Bench Points provided Bejarano with his second win of the afternoon, equaling the output of his rival, Rosario, for the afternoon. Bejarano came back to win the tenth race aboard Russian River for his third win Monday and now leads Rosario, 54-53, with only Wednesday remaining of the 2010 Del Mar meeting.

 

Labor Day Monday's attendance was 13,060.

 

 

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