Irish-bred Vagabond Shoes, sent postward the 2-1 favorite after his
bang-up runner-up performance behind Jeramino in the Grade I Eddie Read
Stakes July 20, showed he was for real in the 74th running of the Grade II $200,000 Del Mar Handicap Saturday with a hard-fought triumph under jockey Victor
Rallying wide on the far turn, Vagabond Shoes forged to the front in
midstretch and then held off the late challenge of 5-2 Lucayan, ridden
by Garrett Gomez, to score by a half-length. Huntsville, a 13-1 outsider
in the field of six older horses, was third, another half-length behind
Lucayan and 1 ¾ lengths in front of Old Time Hockey.
Vagabond Shoes, owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler,
accomplished the marathon distance of a mile and three-eighths over the
infield turf course in a fast 2:11.94, marginally slower than the
standard of 2:11.14 set by Spring House in the 2008 Del Mar ’Cap.
The Del Mar Handicap, the seaside track’s oldest stakes which was
inaugurated during its first summer season in 1937, is part of the
Breeders’ Cup’s “Win and You’re In” Series of races which, in this
instance, awards the winner a guaranteed all-expenses berth in the $3
million Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita.
Vagabond Shoes, a six-year-old gelded son of Beat Hollow, returned
$6, $3.20 and $2.40 while earning first money of $120,000 with his
seventh victory in 26 starts, swelling his bankroll to $425,497. It was
the chestnut’s first victory in six American starts after being imported
to this country from Europe.
Lucayan, a French-bred runner, paid $4 and $3.20, while Huntsville paid $4.40 to show.
Saturday’s attendance was 18,387.