Heap has praise for Del Mar Oaks favorite Con Te Partiro

August 18, 2017 01:14pm
Con Te Partiro wins 2016 Bolton Landing
Photo: Taylor Ejdys/NYRA

Blake Heap trains his own horses and is the right-hand man on the West Coast for trainer Wesley Ward.

Heap had supervised the training of Con Te Partiro, a daughter of Scat Daddy, at Santa Anita in the fall of 2016 capped by a runner-up effort in the Juvenile Turf Sprint that opened the 
Saturday card of the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. So when it came time to send Con Te Partida for a race during the Royal Ascot meeting in June, Heap went with the 3-year-old filly.

“She was a little bit nervous and she was a handful the first day over there, but then by about the third day she settled in very nice,” Heap said Friday morning. And on June 21, under jockey Jamie Spencer, Con Te Partiro prevailed against 23 rivals in the Sandringham Handicap, coming from far back in the early going.

Con Te Partiro shipped in from Kentucky five days ago and, partly based on the effort in England, is the morning line favorite for Saturday’s Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks.

“Here, she settled in the first day,” Heap said. “She’s doing well, but it’s a tough race. They don’t give anything away here.”

The field from the rail: Kenda (Tyler Baze, 20-1), Madam Dancealot (Jamie Theriot, 9-2), Blame It On Alphie (Victor Espinoza, 20-1), Pistol Packin Rose (Mario Gutierrez, 30-1), Con Te Partiro (Flavien Prat, 7-2), Meadowsweet (Kent Desormeaux, 12-1), Vexatious (Rafael Bejarano, 8-1), Kathy’s Song (Gary Stevens, 15-1), Storm the Hill (Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1), Dream Dancing (Julien Leparoux, 6-1), Pacific Wind (Corey Nakatani, 12-1), Beau Recall (Joe Talamo, 6-1), Tapped (Mike Smith, 8-1) and Bernina Star (Brice Blanc, 30-1).

The Oaks will go as the 10th on an 11-race program.


The 1 3/8 mile Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Handicap presented by the Japan Racing Assocition is a long grassy run with a big reward (besides the winning purse) for the winner. That being a guaranteed spot in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf as part of the “Win and You’re In” program for racing’s fall world championships.

George Papaprodromou fully expects Mr. Roary, the 4-year-old son of Scat Daddy he trains for Kretz Racing, to be the leader early and hopes that jockey Santiago Gonzalez can keep him there in the long run. Mr. Roary was a wire-to-wire winner of his first 2017 start at Santa Anita in June and led briefly in the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read before finishing third here on July 22.

“Win this one and the Breeders’ Cup after that,” Papaprodromou said Fridaymorning. “He has speed, so I’m OK with the outside (No. 12) post. He could have won the Eddie Read, but he got pressure on the lead and that messed him up a little bit and we only got beat a length and a half.

“I’m hoping in the Del Mar Handicap he gets an easy lead and he just goes all the way.”

The field from the rail: Liam the Charmer (Victor Espinoza, 12-1), Inordinate (Rafael Bejarano, 8-1), Big John B (Corey Nakatani, 12-1), Editore (Tiago Pereira, 30-1), Itsinthepost (Tyler Baze, 4-1), Monster Bea (Joe Talamo, 20-1), Flamboyant (Brice Blanc, 15-1), Ashleyluvssugar (Gary Stevens, 7-2), He Will (Mike Smith, 12-1), Up With the Birds (Jamie Theriot, 20-1), Hunt (Flavien Prat, 3-1),Mr. Roary (Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1) and Prime Attraction (Stewart Elliott 20-1).

The Del Mar Handicap will go as the seventh on an 11-race program.


Defending race champion Midnight Storm was established as the 2-1 morning line favorite by oddsmaker Russ Hudak in a field of six for Sunday’s Grade II $200,000 Del Mar Mile for older turf runners.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, Midnight Storm will be switched back to grass after five straight main track races, the first of them being a 7 ¾-length score in the Native Diver Handicap here last fall. The vast majority of the more than $1.7 million in earnings for the 6-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile have been accumulated in turf events.

Midnight Storm is tied with Flawlessly and How Now for the most career stakes victories at Del Mar (5) and would become the solo record holder with a victory.

The field from the rail: Vyjack (Flavien Prat, 7-2), Om (Gary Stevens, 7-2), Bal a Bali (Mike Smith, 5-2), Midnight Storm (Rafael Bejarano, 2-1), Blackjackcat (Kent Desormeaux, 6-1) and Le Ken (Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1).


Del Mar and Saratoga will team up to offer racing fans a deluxe “all stakes” Pick Four Saturday, a separate bet that proved especially popular last year when it was offered for the first time and drew more than $600,000 in wagers.

This year’s version of the “all stakes” Pick Four will feature the Grade I Alabama Stakes from Saratoga, as well as the Grade II Lake Placid from the upstate New York venue. Del Mar’s portion of the bet will consist of the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic and the Grade I Del Mar Oaks.

The Lake Placid will be the 8th race on the Saratoga card, while the Alabama will be the 9th. At Del Mar, the TVG Pacific Classic is the day’s 8th race, while the Del Mar Oaks goes as the 10th. Saratoga will present 10 races Saturday, Del Mar 11.

Here are the scheduled posts (all times Pacific): Lake Placid, 2:02 p.m.; Alabama 2:40; Pacific Classic 5:45 and Del Mar Oaks 6:45.


Eight different jockeys and eight different trainers won races on Thursday’s eight-race card. And none of them were names from atop the leader boards.

So apprentice Evin Roman and 2016 co-champ Flavien Prat remain tied atop the jockey standings with 22 wins each while defending champion Phil D’Amato maintained a one-win lead, 12-11, over Doug O’Neill.

D’Amato has entrants in two races on Friday’s program, O’Neill four.

Prat is scheduled on four mounts, Roman on six.

– TVG will break from its usual format for a live, 90-minute commercial-free special telecast of the TVG Pacific Classic Saturday starting at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time. The broadcast will include an original TVG short film with Team Arrogate looking back on Arrogate’s tour de force performance at the 2017 Dubai World Cup. TVG racing analysts Todd Schrupp, Simon Bray, Christina Blacker, Britney Eurton, Scott Hazleton, Candace Hare, Mike Joyce and Matt Carothers will be reporting live from Del Mar all day … NBCSN, the NBC Sports Network, will telecast the TVG Pacific Classic starting at 5 p.m.Pacific Time. Laffit Pincay, Randy Moss, Nick Luck, Jay Privman and Matt Bernier comprise the commentating team.

Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club


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