Wright and LaPenta’s seven-year-old Jeranimo, sent postward the 5-2
favorite in an outstanding field of grass campaigners, unleashed a
brilliant burst of speed in the stretch under jockey Rafael Bejarano to
win Saturday’s featured Grade I $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes.
Outrun in his customary style during the early stages of the
nine-furlong race over the infield turf course, Jeranimo rallied
dramatically to score a 1 1/2 length victory in a flossy 1:45.80 for
the distance, a second slower than the course record of 1:44.79 set by
Aragorn in the 2006 Read. The winner’s final furlong was clocked in
Irish-bred Vagabond Shoes, a 23-1 outsider ridden by Victor Espinoza,
closed strongly to be second, a half-length in front of 37-1 Fly Lexis
Fly, with Fed Biz, who carved out swift fractions in a duel with Slim
Shadey, fading to fourth another 1 1/2 lengths farther back.
Jeranimo, a son of Congaree trained by Mike Pender, was runner-up two
summers ago in the Read to Del Mar Horse of the Meeting Acclamation who
later received an Eclipse Award as America’s top older male
Thoroughbred. First prize of $180,000 pushed the veteran stakes
campaigner’s earnings to $1,400,864. It was his tenth victory in 35
career outings and seventh in 21 starts on grass.
Jeranimo returned $7.80, $4.20 and $3.80, while Vagabond Shoes paid $13.60 and $8.60 and Fly Lexis Fly returned $11 to show.
In the afternoon’s supporting feature, $102,550 Osunitas Stakes for
older fillies and mares, 16-1 longshot Closing Range, an invader from
the Midwest piloted by Corey Nakatani, got up in the final strides to
score by a neck over 7-5 favored Unusual Hottie, with I Dazzle third in
the field of ten distaffers.
Closing Range, owned by St. George Farm Racing and trained by Phil
Oliver, ran the mile and one-sixteenth on turf in 1:41.44 and paid
$35.40 after notching her fifth victory in ten races. Her previous race
was at Indiana Downs.
Bejarano continued his hot riding as he scored a triple Saturday. In
addition to his win on Jeranimo in the Read Stakes, the Peruvian-born
jockey won the third on Star Vesta at $8.60 and the tenth-race nightcap
on Somewhere With You at $18.80. Bejarano, seeking his third Del Mar
championship and second straight, has won ten races in three days to
lead the standings.
Joe Talamo, mired in an 0-43 slump, broke out in style with three
winners, Surf N Ski in the opener, Guns Loaded in the sixth and Would
You in the ninth.
Saturday’s attendance was 19,586.