Dressed in Hermes heads opening-day Oceanside
The 77th summer season at Del Mar runs July 15-September 5.
Sixteen horses, including a pair of also-eligibles, were entered for the Oceanside, which wasn’t was split for the third straight year after being run in divisions 22 times from 1989-2013.
A three-time stakes scorer, Dressed in Hermes figures to appreciate the class relief following a pair of unplaced efforts in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs and Pennine Ridge (G3) at Belmont Park. Mike Smith has the call on the Janet Armstrong-trained Hat Trick gelding.
Mr. Roary, a 38-1 upset winner of the June 18 Rainbow at Santa Anita, will show speed for trainer George Papaprodromou and jockey Edwin Maldonado. Liam the Charmer, who finished third as the Rainbow favorite, merits respect in his second stakes attempt for Mike McCarthy and receives a rider switch to Victor Espinoza.
Rafael Bejarano, who will be seeking his fifth straight and sixth overall riding title during the summer meet, rides Moonlight Drive for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, a seven-time leading trainer at Del Mar. The Italian-bred colt will make his first appearance since capturing his U.S. bow, a one-mile Santa Anita turf allowance on February 15.
Two-time leading conditioner Peter Miller will be represented by a trio of runners. Grade 1-placed Hollywood Don, winner of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf last summer, will make his first start of 2016 and Brice Blanc rides. Tristan’s Trilogy, a head second in the Singletary two back, will try to rebound from an unplaced effort versus elders in a recent allowance with Norberto Arroyo Jr. Monster Bea will make his first start for the Miller barn after capturing a Churchill allowance last out for Mark Casse and Gary Stevens retains the mount.
Imperious One, runner-up in the Eddie Logan but unraced since a 6 ¼-length allowance romp in late January, is a logical win contender if ready to go off the layoff for four-time leading trainer Doug O’Neill. The same can be said for Eddie Logan winner Path of David, who hasn’t started since early February for conditioner Kristin Mulhall.
A crowd in excess of 40,000 is expected for opening-day and first-race post time is 2 p.m. (PT). Del Mar’s “4 o-clock Fridays” featuring twilight racing start on July 22.
The meet’s centerpiece event, the 26th running of the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) takes place on August 20. The $200,000 San Diego H. (G2) on July 23 also promises to be a highlight with 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome scheduled to make his first start since a smashing victory in the Dubai World Cup (G1) in late March.
Dressed in Hermes photo courtesy of Benoit Photo