An undefeated colt making his stakes debut and three veterans of graded stakes action lead a field of 10 3-year-olds with visions of running in the Grade II Del Mar Derby in Wednesday's traditional opening-day feature, the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at a mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course as Del Mar opens its 71st race meet.
Twirling Candy, a son of 2003 Pacific Classic winner Candy Ride, puts his spotless record of two for two on the line for trainer John Sadler against the more experienced trio of Macias, Gallant Gent and Domonation. Gallant Gent, a gelded son of Yankee Gentleman, has run in four straight graded events, with a third place being his top finish; Domonation, another Sadler trainee, is winless, also, in his graded outings, and Macias, trained by Bob Baffert, has yet to win in graded company, though he has earned the most money of any horse in the race at $185,597 and will carry high weight of 121 pounds. His record is four wins, one second and two thirds in 10 lifetime starts.
A victory in the Oceanside could be a ticket to the $300,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 5, at 1 1/8 miles on the Durante grass.
Three other prospects come to the race from a winning effort, all in allowance/claiming company. The trio: Face and an Ace, trained by Paco Gonzalez; Eoin Harty's Hockley, and the Janet Armstrong-trained Just Magic.
Here's how they'll line up from the rail, with weights and riders: Face and an Ace, 119, Brice Blanc; Very Fair, 119, Mike Smith; Twirling Candy, 119, Joel Rosario; Brady Blue Eyes, 119, Tyler Baze; Hockley, 119, David Flores; Macias, 121, Martin Garcia; Domonation, 117, Rafael Bejarano; Just Magic, 119, Martin Pedroza; Gallant Gent, 119, Victor Espinoza, and Killer Bear, 119, Felipe Valdez.
is the eighth of 10 races on the opening-day card, with first post at 2 p.m.
Of interest on the day's undercard is a race by a group of aging runners who have put up big earnings numbers over their careers, headed by the $351,840 earned by the 7-year-old Racketeer and including four others who have earned purse money of more than $200,000 -- Silent Soul, Valiant Effort, Yacht Spotter and Yankee Bravo. They'll all be running for a claiming tag of $32,000 in the second race.
At the other end of the spectrum, the seventh race offers fans a glimpse of a possible Del Mar champion 2-year-old filly as 12 maiden juveniles are set to run 6 furlongs.