Nine well-matched three-year-olds, including five runners who
competed in divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on opening Day, July 17,
will tangle Saturday in the Grade II $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at a
mile and one-sixteenth over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
The La Jolla Handicap is the final steppingstone to the $300,000 Del
Mar Derby at nine furlongs on the grass Sunday, Sept. 1, an event which
traditionally decides the three-year-old champion of Del Mar’s summer
With no standout among the entrants, Greeley Awesome (Julien
Leparoux) and Freakin Rocket (Mike Smith) could be dueling for
favoritism off their performances in the first division of the
Greeley Awesome, making his first start for trainer John Sadler after
being claimed for $40,000 in early June at Betfair Hollywood Park, was
beaten only a neck by Gervinho, closing strongly in the stretch.
Freakin Rocket, who was two-for-two entering the Oceanside, was third,
beaten 1 ¼ lengths after taking the lead in the upper stretch.
Others in what appears to be a wide-open renewal of the La Jolla ‘Cap
are French-bred Si Sage (Edwin Maldonado), Den’s Legacy (Corey
Nakatani), Uno Dos Adios (Agapito Delgadillo), Dry Summer (Joe Talamo),
Rosengold (Martin Garcia), Dice Flavor (Garrett Gomez) and Pure Loyalty