Two Year Olds & Turf Runners take Center Stage at Del Mar Week 4

Two Year Olds & Turf Runners take Center Stage at Del Mar Week 4
Photo: Benoit Photo/Del Mar

The fourth week of the 2016 Del Mar summer meeting was one that will be remembered by top performances from two-year-olds and some solid racing over the lawn.

A week that started with a two-year-old Cal-bred stakes event and concluded with a powerful second start for Bob Baffert conditioned Noted And Quoted and a strong Stateside debut for Argentinian import Sobradora Inc was light on star power compared to the past couple of weeks, but still produced several eye-popping performances.

The stakes action for the week commenced on Wednesday with the $100,000 Graduation Stakes. Doug O’Neill conditioned Green With Eddie remained outside his competition and proved to be a much the best winner in the five and a half furlong sprint. The Square Eddie Colt looked extremely ready to roll in the paddock and lived up to expectations with a three and one-quarter length score under jockey Mario Gutierrez. The win gave the trio of Paul Reddam, Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez their third consecutive win in the stakes event with Wake Up Nick prevailing in 2014 and Mrazek hitting the wire first in 2015.

The two-year-olds remained prevalent throughout the week and really took center stage over the weekend with the appearance of a few that have a chance to be future stars of the game.

Saturday’s Grade II Sorrento saw a compact group of fillies that included top two betting choices Miss Southern Miss and maiden Champagne Room. The Broken Vow filly Champagne Room got a terrible trip in her debut, but was the benefactor of a much better one on Saturday and got the best of her chief rival to capture the lions’ share of the $200,000 purse. Miss Southern Miss ran valiantly after starting poorly and being rushed up three-wide on the backside, but still ran a credible second. Both of these fillies have their sights set on the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on closing weekend if all goes well.

In addition to the Sorrento, Saturday saw an extremely powerful effort from Keith Desormeaux trained Straight Fire. The Dominus colt ran a strong second to Chasing Aces on opening weekend in a race that produced a track record. Straight Fire followed up his runner-up finish on debut with a dominating victory in his second career start. Jockey Kent Desormeaux took him to the early lead and never looked back.

Straight Fire has the look of a runner that will have no problem getting further ground. The Del Mar Futurity is up next for the promising young colt.

The second of the huge weekend maiden performances was in the fifth race on Sunday. After a troubled voyage in her debut, Bob Baffert trained Noted and Quoted broke well, settled off the early pacesetters and drew off late to capture her first career victory. The daughter of Factor gives Baffert a formidable duo of juvenile fillies along with the full sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, American Cleopatra. Expect to see both in the Del Mar Debutante.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday all saw stakes events run over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. 

Friday’s feature was the $75,000 Daisycutter Handicap run at five furlongs. Marty Jones conditioned So Sweetitiz made it four wins in eight starts with a half-length score over late running Late Spring. The daughter of Grand Slam has won three of five starts in 2016.

Saturday’s co-feature was the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap for three-year-olds run at a mile and a sixteenth. Long shot Free Rose took advantage of a speed favoring turf course with the rails out at eighteen feet to upset a solid group in the $150,000 event. Hronis Racing’s Lucky Bryan ran on late against the bias for a solid second and Italian import Moonlight Drive finished a lackluster third despite a perfect ride from jockey Flavien Prat.

The final stakes event of the weekend was the $75,000 Osunitas Stakes run at eight and a half furlongs. A hot early pace set things up for late running Sobradora Inc. The daughter of Include outkicked Prize Exhibit and Elektrum to take down the restricted stakes race for fillies and mares. Trainer Simon Callaghan is eyeing up the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita for her next start.

A few days off and then the racing continues “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” The Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes and the $150,000 Solana Beach Stakes headline a relatively slow week at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.



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Scott has been a fan of handicapping and following thoroughbred racing since Garden State Park was rebuilt in Cherry Hill, NJ in 1985.  His first memories of the racetrack include the 1985 Jersey Derby won by Spend a Buck and the 1990 Met Mile clash between Easy Goer, Criminal Type and Housebuster, but it was not until his mid to late twenties that Scott became confident he had a knack for picking winners. He points to the summer of 2007 in San Diego while working on a masters degree in American History as the time where he took his handicapping, his communication skills, and his attention to detail to the next level.  It was at this time where he had his first real big score.   He had four of only five winning combinations in the now extinct Place Pick All on a $8 ticket netting himself $40,000. 

A few months after hitting a monster pick five at Santa Anita Park in February of 2013, Scott started his website, showcasing his and other experts' selections, as well as analysis and commentary on North American racing. From there, he began writing a weekly column for called "Race of the Week" and soon thereafter started writing for Horse Racing Nation. Currently, he is Horse Racing Nation's Southern California Racing Correspondent and can be found most days at Santa Anita Park or Del Mar Race Course.

Scott loves playing in horse racing tournaments and constructing pick four and pick five tickets.  His favorite all-time horses are Captain Bodgit, A.P. Indy, Fly So Free and Charismatic. He has lived in multiple states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Colorado before returning to Southern California in the middle of 2015 to start "Shapper Da California Capper." 


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