Del Mar news: O'Neill aims for Derby upset with Arawak

Del Mar news: O'Neill aims for Derby upset with Arawak
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

There was no catching River Boyne in the Grade 3, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap, second leg of the Del Mar turf series for 3-year-olds, on August 5. But Doug O’Neill-trained Arawak came closest of those who tried.

Given a month to prepare, and an additional sixteenth of a mile to run, O’Neill is hopeful that Arawak can turn the tables in Sunday’s 74th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Derby.

“Obviously, River Boyne is the horse to beat. But we were making a little headway on him down the lane in the La Jolla, so hopefully the extra sixteenth of a mile will be to our advantage,” O’Neill said. “Win, lose or draw I like our post and our chances.”

The field from the rail: Epical (Tyler Baze, 20-1), Desert Stone (Tyler Gaffalione (6-1), River Boyne (Flavien Prat, 5-2), Restrainedvengence (Evin Roman, 20-1), Arawak (Rafael Bejarano, 8-1), Pubilius Syrus (Kent Desormeaux, 8-1), Andesh (Geovanni Franco, 8-1), Ride a Comet (Drayden Van Dyke, 7-2), Take the One O One (Joe Talamo, 8-1), Kazan (Martin Garcia, 12-1), Majestic Eagle (Gary Stevens, 15-1) and Animosity (Tyler Conner, 20-1).


Trainer Simon Callaghan considered the 2-year-old colt Owning, a Kentucky-bred son of Flashback he trains for J. Paul Reddam, for both Sunday’s $100,000 Juvenile Turf and Monday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity.

Callaghan opted for a mile on the turf, a surface over which Owning has not run, rather than 7-furlongs on dirt against the most proven juveniles on the grounds.

“We think he’ll handle the turf,” Callaghan said. “We think he’s got a very good (running) action for the turf. Obviously going two turns is a bit of an unknown, but I think it’s well within his capabilities.

“And it (Juvenile Turf) is a race without any standout. So if we can transfer a couple of decent runs from the dirt over to turf, I think he’s going to be very competitive.”

The field from the rail: Hartel (Flavien Prat, 3-1), Takeo Squared (Rafael Bejarano, 6-1), Honcho (Tyler Baze, 6-1), Rijeka (Mario Gutierrez, 7-2), Forloveofcountry (Evin Roman, 5-1), Seeking Refuge (Geovanni Franco, 20-1), Owning (Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1), King of Speed (Gary Stevens, 20-1), Knight’s Cross (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1), Go Daddy Go (Tiago Pereira, 15-1) and Street Image (Joe Talamo, 20-1).


Trainer Mike McCarthy has three entrants in a field of 11 for Monday’s $100,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf, one of two supporting stakes on the undercard for the traditionally featured closing day  Del Mar Futurity.

McCarthy’s trio is comprised of Kathryn’s Sky, Noble Contessa and Imperial Creed. Kathryn’s Sky is owned by Jay and Cincy Bligh while McCarthy’s two other fillies are owned by the partnership of Gatto or Sebold Racing LLC.

“They weren’t going to get into a maiden race and I wanted to get them a race here before we left, so that was our only option,” McCarthy said Saturday. “It’s a wide open race. There’s one clear standout and everybody else is in the same boat.

“We’ll see what happens.”

The standout is 6-5 morning line favorite Summering, who comes in off a five-length debut victory over the one-mile turf course. McCarthy saddled Kathryn’s Sky to a third-place finish in that race and the Kentucky-bred daughter of Trappe Shot retains the services of jockey Tyler Baze.

The field for the Juvenile Fillies Turf from the rail: After the Rose (Tiago Pereira, 30-1), Posh Holly (Geovanni Franco, 12-1), Kathryn’s Sky (Tyler Baze, 8-1), Lady Prancealot (Joe Talamo, 12-1), Hyde Park Corner (Gary Stevens, 8-1), Summering (Drayden Van Dyke, 6-5), Noble Contessa (Assael Espinoza, 15-1), Imperial Creed (Kent Desormeaux, 20-1), Angel Alessandra (Flavien Prat, 5-1), Bizwhacks (Mario Gutierrez, 8-1) and Be A Shero (Evin Roman, 20-1).

The Juvenile Fillies Turf goes as the fourth on a 10-race card. It precedes the other stakes on the program, the $75,000 C.E.R.F. a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.

The field for the CERF from the rail: Phantom Proton (Joe Talamo, 6-1), Impasse (Tyler Baze, 20-1), Dis Smart Cat (Evin Roman, 15-1), Miss Sunset (Mike Smith, 7-5), Show It N Moe It (Rafael Bejarano, 4-1), Lake Time (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1), Time For Ebby (Geovanni Franco, 20-1) and Classy Tune (Flavien Prat, 3-1).

CLOSERS -- How close an escape was it for jockey Joe Talamo when Aggressivity stumbled leaving the gate in Thursday’s fourth race, unseating Talamo and, it turned out clipping him in the head with a hoof? “It cracked his helmet,” Talamo’s agent Scott McClellan said Friday. “Joe turned his head real quick and I think the horse had his feet in the air and it was a glancing blow, not crushing like it would have been if he stepped down on the helmet.” Talamo was talked out of continuing to ride on Thursday, but was back full-time on Friday …Selected works from 120 officially timed Saturday morning: La Force (4f, :48.80), Soi Phet (4f, :49.00), Collected (6f, 1:14.20) and Edwards Going Left (6f, 1:12.60).

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