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Plenty of Talent in Both Divisions of Oceanside

Undrafted 615 X 400
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Near to a Del Mar tradition, the opening day Oceanside Stakes again will be run in separate divisions when the 74th summer season kicks off Wednesday afternoon.

Only once in the last decade has an on-track Opening Day crowd number been less than the previous year. Since 2009, the figures have been single-day on-track records culminating in the 47,339 of 2012. Projections are for a similar turnout on Wednesday.

Of course, not all come strictly for the horse racing. But those who do can look forward to double the pleasure in an Oceanside Stakes that will be presented in divisions for the second year in a row and the 22nd time since 1989.

The one-mile grass test for 3-year-olds will be run as the sixth and ninth races on the program. If 10 run, each will offer a $111, 450 total purse with $66,870 to the winner.

Undrafted, a recent import from the Midwest who arrived at Del Mar on Sunday and is 2-for-2 in grass races, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the first division. Freakin Rocket, 2-for-2 in a career begun in May, is the 7-2 second choice. They’ll break side-by-side with Undrafted from the No. 5 post under Joel Rosario and Freakin Rocket No.6 under Mike Smith.

“He (Undrafted) is not a big horse, just average size, but he can run,” said Blake Heap, who handles West Coast competitors for East Coast-based trainer Wesley Ward.

“I don’t know when Wesley decided on this race for him, but he’s probably been thinking about it for awhile.”

Del Mar’s stakes series for 3-year-olds – the Oceanside, La Jolla on August 10 and Del Mar Derby on Sept. 1, all on grass – would appear to be a good fit.

Freakin Rocket’s two wins at Hollywood Park were by a combined margin of 15 ¼ lengths. “He’s been training well ,” said Tim Yakteen, who conditions the son of Rock Hard Ten for Mercedes Stable. “It will be his first time around two turns and first time on grass, but we’re excited to see how he handles it.”

Rosario also has the mount on the favorite in the second division of the Oceanside, 7-2 Den’s Legacy. Del Mar’s riding champion from 2009-11 who notched his first Kentucky Derby victory aboard Orb in May, Rosario is making a one-day appearance before heading East for the opening of the Saratoga meeting on Friday.

Den’s Legacy has one win and two seconds in three turf races and most recently was second in the Affirmed Handicap on the Cushion Track main surface at Hollywood Park.

“He’s been doing well,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “The decision was whether to run in the Swaps (July 4, Hollywood Park main track) or here.”

Rosengold, a winner of four straight for trainer Julio Canani and owner Bill Currin, is the 9-2 second choice and will be ridden by Martin Garcia.



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