Sports stars abound at the Del Mar Thoroughbred on Friday July 24.Â Lakersâ€™ Luke Walton (left), Spursâ€™ Richard Jefferson (third from left), and pro golfer Rick Barnes (second from right), join jockeys Garrett Gomez (center), and Corey Nakatani (right), along with DMTC President Joe Harper (third from right) and official Ruben Hernandez (second from left), join for a day of racing at the seaside oval which runs through Sept. 9th.
Photo by Benoit Photo
Del Mar Stable NotesSong Of Navarone Joins Field For San Diego HandicapSong of Navarone, trained by Walther Solis, joined the "committed" list this for next Sunday's 68th running of the Grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap, a "Win and You're In" race for an automatic spot in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.Song of Navarone came to Solis in time to run in Hollywood Park's Californian and Hollywood Gold Cup, where he finished fourth and 11th, respectively. He spent the early part of his career racing at New Mexico's Zia Park and Sunland Park for trainer Henry Dominguez, whose brother, Cesar, is a longtime Southern California conditioner.While he's still looking for success in Southern California, the 5-year-old Song of Navarone has compiled a career record of eight victories in 14 starts and has bloodlines connections to Del Mar through his broodmare sire Navarone, winner of the Del Mar Handicap in 1992 and '94 and the Escondido Handicap in 1992 as well.The addition of Song of Navarone, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario, runs the list of those committed to start in the San Diego to six. That list could grow to eight or 10 when the "maybes" make up their minds. Already set along with Solis's horse are Kelly Leak, who'll be ridden by Mike Smith for trainer Mike Machowsky; the filly Life Is Sweet, with Garrett Gomez for John Shirreffs; the Darrell Vienna-trained Magnum, with Martin Pedroza; Mast Track, with no rider named yet for Robert Frankel; and defending champion Well Armed, who will have his regular rider Aaron Gryder up for Eoin Harty.Those considered possible for the San Diego include one of two Patrick Biancone trainees - the filly Allicansayis Wow and Ball Four - both of whom will work at Santa Anita Monday to determine who will get the call; Cigar Man for Vladimir Cerin, Harty's Colonel John, Californian winner Informed for Doug O'Neill, and Carla Gaines' Temple City.Kelly Leak turned in a bullet 1:25.20 for 7 furlongs this morning, while Temple City clocked a bullet 59 flat for 5 furlongs and Colonel John took to the turf for a 5-furlong work in 1:02.The San Diego will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. At Least Eight Shaping Up For Saturday's San Clemente 'CapEight 3-year-old fillies are considered solid for Saturday's 42nd edition of the Grade II, $150,000 San Clemente Handicap for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.A full field of 10 is expected.Already committed are Carlsbad, who will be ridden by Tyler Baze for trainer Jeff Mullins; Hameildaeme, with Danny Sorenson for trainer Jamie Lloyd; the Bob Baffert-trained Internallyflawless, with Garrett Gomez; Nan, trained by Craig Dollase and ridden by Corey Nakatani; Oilgonewile, with Joe Talamo for Mike Mitchell; Starlarks, with Alex Solis for Patrick Gallagher; Jeff Bonde's Strawberry Tart, with Martin Garcia, and the John Sadler-trained Third Dawn, with no rider named.Third Dawn and Internallyflawless both worked 5 furlongs in 59.80 this morning and Hameildaeme was clocked in 1:14.20 for 6 furlongs.10 Cal-Bred 2-Year-Olds To Line Up Graduation ExercisesHeaded by a trio of Mike Harrington winners, a field of 10 is slated to go to the post Wednesday in the 58th running of the $100,000 Graduation Stakes for 2-year-olds bred in California.Ritzville won at first asking for Harrington, Roman Counsel has posted two seconds and a first in his three career outings and Swiss Exploit was a winner in his debut. Of the other seven, five are winners, one is winless in three starts and one is making his first start.Here's how they'll line up from the rail, with weights and riders: Wolf Trail, 118, Joel Rosario; Swiss Exploit, 118, Michael Baze; Bertran Hill, 120, David Flores; Grace Upon Grace, 120, Victor Espinoza; Chocolate Marini, 118, Tyler Baze; Sweet Tigger, 120, Jose Valdivia, Jr.; Dance Marino, 188, Danny Sorenson; Ritzville, 120, Martin Garcia; Daylight Storm, 118, Alex Solis; Roman Counsel, 120, Aaron Gryder.Saturday Stakes Winners Reported In Fine FettleEddie Read Handicap winner Global Hunter was reported in good shape this morning by trainer A.C. Avila, who was still basking in the afterglow of his first Grade I victory. "He came out perfect," the trainer said.No decision has been made as to where the 6-year-old Brazilian-bred will start next, but Avila said the $1-million Pacific Classic at 1 1/4 miles on the main track Sunday, September 6 will get strong consideration.Read runner-up Awesome Gem may start next in the Pacific Classic, too, after his strong showing Saturday, although another start on the Del Mar turf could be in the works, also. Trainer Craig Dollase expressed pleasure with the 6-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again, but also spoke to Monterey Jazz's undoing by saying, "It was a weird-run race. When that incident occurred [the bolting of pacesetter Thorn Song], he just locked his jaw and Tyler couldn't do anything with him."As for Awesome Gem, Dollase said, "He ran his race and closed well. We'll consider the Pacific Classic." He has tried the Pacific Classic twice, finishing second in 2007 and seventh last year.Excessive Blend exited her solid victory in the $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes earlier on the program in good shape, also, trainer Carla Gaines said this morning. "I really don't know what we'll do next," the trainer said, "but we'll look for something here" for the 3-year-old Cal-bred filly.Eddie Read Victory Puts Nakatani At No. 2 For Stakes WinsCorey Nakatani took sole possession of the runner-up spot among stakes-winning jockeys at Del Mar by winning his 96th stakes at the seaside track aboard Global Hunter in Saturday's Grade I Eddie Read Handicap. The 38-year-old Nakatani previously was tied with legendary Laffit Pincay, Jr. at 95.The win also ran his leading number of Grade I victories at Del Mar to 14. In addition, his three wins on Saturday put him in the thick of the jockey race after the season's first four days, with four wins. He trails the five wins posted by Tyler Baze and Joel Rosario, whose two wins Saturday boosted him into a tie.John Sadler leads the early trainer standings with five victories, followed by Bob Baffert's three, one of which came Saturday with a sharp 2-year-old, Tiny Woods, the first victory for his Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable, a project that has horses with Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito, who dominated the Triple Crown trail through the 1990s.New Face In The Crowd Has Been Around For Some TimeThough he's been in business for quite awhile and has served apprenticeships with some solid teachers, Bob Troeger is overseeing his first string of horses on his own this summer at Del Mar.The native of Los Angeles has 20 horses in his care, seven at the seashore and 13 at Santa Anita. He'll make his first appearance in the saddling area on Wednesday when he tightens the girth on three runners."This is all I know how to do," said Troeger, who worked for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg for 10 years, Jeff Mullins five years and Mike Machowsky four. Heading up his string here is Laura's Pleasure, who is being pointed to the Grade III, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track Friday, August 7.DMTC Institutes "Free & Easy Wednesdays" For FansDel Mar racing fans will begin a season-long "Free & Easy Wednesdays" plan when the track reopens after its first two "dark" days Monday and Tuesday.The program features free admission to the Stretch Run area of the track, free program and free seat, along with half-priced domestic draft beer, sodas and hot dogs at Stretch Run concession stands.Shore Lines - Del Mar's first Pick Six carryover payoff went to four perfect tickets Saturday for $328,271 each. The three-day pool also paid $1,698.80 to 235 with five winners ... Jockey Mike Smith will be out of town Saturday to ride Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the West Virginia Derby.