Del Mar Notebook - August 18

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

August 18th, 2015

A trio of graded races headlined the fifth week at Del Mar Race Course.

Del Mar Oaks (G1): Brous Stable et al’s SHARLA RAE (Afleet Alex) saved ground early, came out entering the stretch and proved best late, securing a three-parts of a length victory beneath James Graham. The Doug O’Neill trainee stopped the teletimer in a sharp 1:46 2/5 for nine furlongs on the firm turf.

Sorrento S. (G2): Watson, Weitman and Pegram’s PRETTY N COOL (Scat Daddy) tracked in second early, eased to the lead in early stretch and poured it on late, recording a facile 2 ¾-length win beneath Martin Garcia. Now two-for-two, the Bob Baffert trainee finished off 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16 4/5.

Rancho Bernardo H. (G3): Tabor, Smith and Magnier’s TARIS (Flatter) prompted the pace in second, took the lead in early stretch and strode home a comfortable 2 ¾-length winner under Gary Stevens. The Simon Callaghan trainee sped 6 ½ panels in 1:15 1/5.

Track Stats

From a total of 44 races held at the Southern California racetrack last week, favorites won at a 34 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 50 percent of the wins. From 28 frays contested on the dirt oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (21 percent), while four of the 16 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (25 percent).

Speed on the main oval was not good Wednesday or Thursday, but pace players had the best go of it Friday with a trio of wire-to-wire winners from five dirt runs. Speed held pretty well on Sunday, but the surface continues to give off-the-pace runners every chance. Of the six who led at each call this week, three came in sprints.

All four turf wire jobs came in the form of two-turn races. But we saw all kinds win on the green.  

Meet Totals












61 (29 percent)



43 (20 percent)



11 (17 percent)



28 (19 percent)



Wednesday (8/12)

2ND – DESERT STEEL (Desert Code) lived up to her favored billing with a powerful stretch run in this turf sprint for conditioner Simon Callaghan. The sophomore miss was more than three lengths clear under the wire and came home in a swift :11 2/5 under Tyler Baze.

6TH – YIANNIS (Midshipman) opened up a nice lead in midstretch and held off a stern test late to post a solid allowance score for trainer John Sadler. The expensive sophomore will likely be headed back for the stakes ranks next time out.

8TH – RECALIBRATING (Malibu Moon) broke slow from the rail, leaving himself with plenty to do, but still put in a big late run to be a good second in this turf test. Trainer Eric Guillot is not very sharp first time out and we think the juvenile colt has some ability.

Thursday (8/13)

5TH – INTOXICATING MOVE (Milwaukee Brew) was last at the top of the lane but put in a punishing late burst to draw off from this field in a visually impressive performance. The five-year-old mare loves it here and could turn out to be a fine claim for Jack Carava.

Friday (8/14)

3RD – CURLIN’S FOX (Curlin) showed a new dimension in going to the lead early on and the tactic paid off, as the Carla Gaines pupil made easy work of her foes in the lane beneath Mike Smith. The three-year-old lass was 4 ½-lengths clear at the finish and came home fast with little urging.

4TH – GIO MIO (Gio Ponti) didn’t get out of the gate well and had just one horse beat turning for home, but the colt nearly got up with a big late finish in a sharp debut. The Art Sherman trainee will be tough in his return with anything close to this performance.

Saturday (8/15)

3RD – MT VEEDER (Ghostzapper) was always prominent and took command in the lane en route to a professional tally at first asking for Bob Baffert. The juvenile colt likely didn’t beat the deepest field ever but surely has to be considered a useful prospect going forward.

7TH – We had a hunch that PATRIOTIC DIAMOND (Hat Trick) was live after getting Bejarano named to ride and the Patrick Biancone trainee showed that she was in rallying for a big second. The two-year-old filly will be super tough with improvement in her subsequent outing.

8TH – Sharla Rae beat what we thought was a very nice field in this turf affair, and did so pretty well, so she might be set for a big latter part of 2015.

Sunday (8/16)

4TH – Taris could not have looked much better in a sparkling 2015 debut, and we think she is surely among the top one-turn fillies in training. Expect to hear a lot from this four-year-old in 2015.

A Look Ahead

The $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) tops a big weekend of racing at Del Mar. Also slated for the Saturday card is the $200,000 Del Mar H. (G2) and the $200,000 Pat O’Brien S. (G2), while Sunday will play host to the $200,000 Del Mar Mile (G2).