Del Mar Notebook - August 4

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

August 4th, 2015

A Grade 1 affair headlined the third week at Del Mar Race Course.

Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1): Spendthrift Farm’s BEHOLDER (Henny Hughes) tracked while close, took a shot lead approaching the turn for home and dominated this field with ease, cruising to a seven-length romp under Gary Stevens. The Richard Mandella trainee got 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 4/5 and connections speculated upon the possibility of taking on males next time in August 22 Pacific Classic (G1).

Track Stats

From a total of 43 races held at the Southern California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 14 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 46 percent of the wins. From 28 frays contested on the dirt oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (29 percent), while one of the 15 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (7 percent).

Four of the five main-track races on Friday were taken in wire-to-wire fashion, though just four of the other 24 races during the week were won by the leader at the first call. This venue has had days like this in the past and will continue to do so – it’s just hard to know when it will occur.

Pressers and stalkers did most of the damage on lawn this past week, but we thought it was a mostly fair surface.

Meet Totals












32 (26%)



26 (21%)



5 (13%)



18 (20%)



Wednesday (7/29)

3RD – JIMMY BOUNCER (Square Eddie) remained unbeaten for conditioner Doug O’Neill and the four-year-old proved versatile winning his turf debut off the layoff. The smart Cal-bred has a lot of speed and showed a nice turn of foot here, spurting clear in early stretch prior to holding on late.

5TH – We’re not sure what she beat, but O’Neill’s LAND OVER SEA (Bellamy Road) surely looked the part in rolling over this field late on the lawn. The juvenile lass will likely be stakes bound in her return.

Thursday (7/30)

6TH – SHE’S READY (More Than Ready) was very sharp on this day and looks like a nice prospect for conditioner Eoin Harty. The three-year-old filly dueled for the opening half, opened up a lead in the lane and increased her margin to the wire in a race where the late runners comprised the next five finishers.

Friday (7/31)

2ND – Trainer John Sadler looks to have made a pretty shred claim in this heat with SKELTON PASS (Temple City), who finished a huge second in her lifetime bow. The gelded sophomore came home swiftly in a sharply run race and should be super tough next time with even slight improvement.

4TH – With Bejarano riding this first time starter, we had a hunch she could run and were proved right as YODELSONG (Thorn Song) aired in the lane for conditioner Mike Harrington. The Cal-bred two-year-old filly didn’t run especially fast but could be a good one going forward.

Saturday (8/1)

7TH – ONE LAST SHOT (Any Given Saturday) broke well, tracked the pace to the top of the lane and then took command late in a very professional debut tally for trainer Bob Baffert. The two-year-old filly is out of a dam that we liked a lot when she raced and the expensive purchase could have a real bright future.

Sunday (8/2)

5TH – GIMME DA LUTE (Midnight Lute) was the class of this race on paper but we didn’t expect such an easy tally from the Baffert pupil, who drew off by 12 ¼ widening lengths.

7TH – SEMPER FORTIS (Distorted Humor) couldn’t reel in the sharp winner in this debut run, but the Doug O’Neill trainee finished more than 14 lengths clear of third in a superb first try in a field we thought had some very interesting prospects. Tab the colt as one to be getting his picture taken next time.

A Look Ahead

Saturday will play host to the $250,000 John C. Mabee S. (G2) and $200,000 Best Pal S. (G2), while the Sunday feature is the $150,000 La Jolla H. (G3).