Flamboyant seeks another Grade 2 win in Del Mar Handicap

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 17th, 2016

Flamboyant has really come on this year for trainer Paddy Gallagher and the resurgent gelding will seek his third Grade 2 tally when he lines up for Saturday’s $250,000 Del Mar H. The 5-year-old will meet 11 rivals in the 1 3/8-mile turf affair on the Pacific Classic undercard.

Up the track at 36-1 odds in last year’s Del Mar H., the 2016 version of Flamboyant bears little resemblance to past editions. The French-bred opened this year with a 46-1 upset in the San Gabriel (G2) before posting a comfortable score in the San Marcos (G2). After shipping overseas to record a highly-commendable fifth, beaten only 2 ¾ lengths against much better company in the Dubai Turf (G1), Flamboyant earned a near four-month freshening.

He returned with a fast-closing third in the July 17 Eddie Read (G2) at Del Mar and Flamboyant retains the services of Flavien Prat.

After finishing second as the favorite 12 months ago, multiple Grade 2 victor Ashleyluvssugar looms as a serious win contender once again. The Eddie Read runner-up will be making his third start off the layoff for trainer Peter Eurton and the 5-year-old gelding keeps Gary Stevens in the saddle.

Grade 1-winning millionaire Finnegans Wake has the back class to challenge but the 7-year-old will be trying to turn things around following a disappointing fifth in the Eddie Read. Kent Desormeaux takes over on the Peter Miller trainee. Quick Casablanca just missed on the main track when second in the July 24 Cougar II (G3) and the 8-year-old is a confirmed long-distance specialist on turf, easily capturing the 1 7/8-mile San Juan Capistrano (G2) earlier this season. Tyler Baze rides the Ron McAnally charge.

English handicap performer Express Himself will make his U.S. debut for new trainer John Sadler and his BRIS Class ratings stack up nicely. Victor Espinoza takes over the reins. Metaboss may draw support following a good-looking victory over allowance/optional claiming foes on the course and Rafael Bejarano stays with the Phil D’Amato runner

Other familiar names include the multiple Grade 2-placed Power Foot; stakes winner Texas Ryano; and Belisarius, who makes his first start for Miller after being under the care of Bill Mott on the East Coast.

Flamboyant photo courtesy of Benoit