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Valenzuela Named to Ride Six Horses at Del Mar Saturday

Patrick Valenzuela has six scheduled mounts on Saturday in his return to racing from retirement last fall and knee surgery early this year.

Agent Rick Evans has calls for Valenzuela, 50, on three horses for trainer Cody Autrey and one each for Walther Solis, David Hofmans and Mike Pender.

The five-time Del Mar riding champion, spanning three decades, begins with Tanzanite Cat for Autrey in the first race and follows with Gentlemen Pete (4th, Solis), Congenial (5th, Autrey), Full Of Slew (7th, Hofmans), Prime Number (9th, Autrey) and Affrettando (10th, Pender).

Del Mar Setting Up Quarantine Situation For Euro Invaders

Racing secretary Tom Robbins will meet today with USDA inspectors regarding a quarantine barn set-up for three horses being shipped from England soon for major Del Mar stakes.

Farraaj, a 4-year-old Irish-bred son of Dubai Destination trained by Roger Varian for Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, is a candidate for the $1 million TVG Classic on Sunday, August 25. Yeager, a 3-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro trained by Jeremy Noseda, is intended for the $300,000 Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 1, and Noseda-trained The Gold Cheongsam, a 3-year-old Irish bred daughter of Red Clubs, is a candidate for the $150,000 Grade II Yellow Ribbon on Monday, September 2.

“All three horses are going back to Europe after they run here,” Robbins said. “So we have to make sure that we have everything set to get the green light for them to come over.”

 

Mitchell Keeps Adding To Track-Leading Total

Mike Mitchell has added four wins in the first 11 racing days of the meeting to boost his all-time leading total at Del Mar to 467. His stable’s 2013 record, 4 wins, 4 seconds, 3 thirds from 20 starts has Mitchell fourth in the standings and in good spirits.

“I’m very pleased,” Mitchell said. “Months before I just didn’t think we’d have a good meeting here. But it’s Del Mar, people get excited, people come out of the woodwork and say, ‘Let’s get a horse.’

“It has been a productive meeting for me. I’ve still got Egg Drop I’m pointing to a  a stake; I’ve got Obviously that I’m pointing to a stake. It’s been good.”

Homegrown Handicapping Talent Mcfarland Makes It A DOUBLE

Kevin McFarland was born and raised in San Diego. He got his introduction to beyond-basic handicapping at age 16 via a course offered at Del Mar from expert handicappers Jim Quinn and Tom Brohamer.

And on Sunday, McFarland, 37, struck close to home for the second year in a row, winning the Del Mar Handicapping Challenge, which brought with it a $25,000 first prize and an entry, worth $10,000, in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Santa Anita.

McFarland’s vocation is as a financial planner for Wells Fargo Bank. His avocation is horse racing and handicap tournament play. He’s straight to the point on why he does it, and why he’s been successful.

“This game isn’t about luck, it’s about hard work, study and self discipline. It’s results driven,” McFarland said. “This is my passion, and I feel like I have a better advantage going in (to a handicapping tournament) than any tournament poker player.”

Last weekend’s event required a $6,000 buy-in by all players with $1,000 of each entry going to prize money. The remaining $5,000 was the starting stake for contestants and they did real-money wagering, meaning they could keep any of their winnings.

McFarland, who has long worked in partnership with friends Nisan Gabbay and Christian Hellmers, ran his original $5,000 up to $19,015 and won the tournament comfortably. On Saturday, he had $10,000 to win on longshot Bio Pro ($40.20) and followed that up with a large bet on Kettle Corn ($9.20) over heavily favored Paynter in the San Diego Handicap. He put the tournament away on Sunday with $3,000 to win on Points Offthebench ($8.80) in the Bing Crosby.

Del Mar Keeps On (Food) Truckin’

The 3rd annual Gourmet Food Truck Festival will be held Saturday (August 3) from noon-6:00 p.m. in the Seaside Concert area and Cabana west of the grandstand. Over 50 food trucks, offering eclectic and widely varied specialty items, will be available for culinary sampling and dining pleasure.

Marquez, Doche Are Seminar Guests

Saul Marquez, jockey agent for David Flores and Agapito Delgadillo, will be the guest expert on Saturday and Marc Doche of Pick4Blog.com will be Jon Lindo’s guest Sunday in the free handicapping seminars.

The weekly events are held from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. at the Seaside Terrace near the top of the stretch.

 

 

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