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Trainers Reflect On Del Mar Meet

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A foursome of comments on the Del Mar meeting that ends today,  collected on a morning tour of the stable area.

Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally: “I’ve always loved Del Mar, and I’ve been coming here since 1948. What’s that, 63 years? I can’t get enough of it, I wish the meeting was longer.”

McAnally  has three wins and two seconds from 15 starters through Monday, raising his career victory total at Del Mar to 437.  McAnally was passed for the top spot on the list by Mike Mitchell, who has 25 wins and 454 for his career. The score by Sugarinthemorning in the Fleet Treat was McAnally’s 74th stakes win at Del Mar, tied for second with Charlie Whittingham behind the 92 of Bob Baffert.

“It (being surpassed by Mitchell) doesn’t bother me,” McAnally said. “Records are made to be broken.”

Trainer John Sadler: “We were a nose away from a great meeting.” Sadler-trained Twirling Candy narrowly lost the Pacific Classic to Acclamation in a season in which Sadler enters the final day with 22 wins, second to Mike Mitchell’s 25, and a season-best $1,565,834 in purse earnings for the stable’s horses.

“It looks like we’re going to get a split result in the trainer part (wins to earnings),” Sadler said. “We’d like to have won them both, but overall it has been a very good meeting.”

Trainer Howard Zucker:  “It looks like it’s going to be a successful meeting for the racetrack. Lots of big days with good crowds.  The tribute on Monday to the wounded and other veterans made a huge impression on me,  the people back here, the racing fans and the (general) audience.”

Zucker enters the final day with three wins and a third-place finish from seven starters.

“We got lucky and won the first race of the meeting and they made that  phenomenal,” Zucker said. “Cameras and microphones in the winner’s circle, the horse’s (Price) picture in the paper. Did it up like no first-race win anywhere else.

“It’s been a good meeting for us. It was a little disappointing  our  big mare (Well Monied) didn’t  run better Monday in the Torrey Pines (7th of 9), but she’s got a race in off a layoff now and we’ll go on from that.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert:  “It’s been an OK meet for me. I didn’t come in with great expectations because I ran a lot of horses at Hollywood Park and I didn’t want to run a lot of horses down here.

“We got the two Grade I sprints (with Euroears in the Bing Crosby and The Factor in the Pat O’Brien), that was good. We really wanted to win the Del Mar Derby (with Midnight Interlude) but just got beat by a good horse (Banned).”


With a victory in Monday’s 10th race aboard Clue Me In for trainer Julio Canani, jockey Martin Pedroza set a personal record for a Del Mar meeting with 22 wins. The native of Panama, who won 21 in 1996, has seven scheduled mounts today to add to the total.

Patrick Valenzuela won 29 races in 2010 after being reinstated from suspension by the California Horse Racing Board one week into the Del Mar meeting, finishing fourth in the jockey standings. Valenzuela has 21 wins in 2011, sixth in the standings, one behind Pedroza and one ahead of Victor Espinoza going into the last day. One of those wins, however, was the wire-to-wire effort on Acclamation in the Pacific Classic, coming 20 years after Valenzuela won the inaugural Classic on Best Pal in 1991.

Octavio Vergara and Daniel Vergara (no relation) will share more than a surname when the meet ends. Octavio, from Chile, and Daniel, from Mexico, both rode only one horse in the meeting, on a Friday program, and both won.  Octavio took the seventh race on August 26 with My T Quick ($23.00) and Daniel the fifth race on September 2 with Battle Slew ($22.40).



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