Motion/de Sousa combine to win lone graded stakes; speed plays well on turf at Del Mar

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 24th, 2015


There was a single graded affair during the week at Del Mar.   

Red Carpet S. (G3): RMJ Stables’ RUSTY SLIPPER (Lemon Drop Kid) moved three-deep into the lane and proved much the best on this day in securing a 1 ½-length tally under leading English rider Silvestre de Sousa. The Graham Motion-trained five-year-old clocked the 1 3/8 miles on the firm turf in 2:15 1/5.

Track Stats

From a total of 34 races held at the seaside racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 41 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 47 percent of the wins. From 15 frays contested on the dirt oval, four animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (27 percent), while six of the 19 grassy tilts were taken all the way on the front end (32 percent).

Speed was solid on both ovals for the second straight week, especially on the dirt once again with six leading at every call from 19 races. Three came in both route and sprint races.  

The turf played to horses forwardly placed in our view, even those who did not lead at every call. Sprints are often quite favorable to early speed, but the route races appeared to be the same way, too.

Meet Totals












57 (42%)

2nd Choices:


17 (12%)

Turf Wire:


10 (20%)

Dirt Wire:


24 (28%)





Thursday (11/19)

2ND – SILVER SPIRIT (Tapit) couldn’t get to the winner, but he did run a nice second throughout in a good try for Miguel Delgado. We’re not sure how solid this field was, but the gelding should be pretty live in his comeback attempt.

6TH – WELL ACQUAINTED (Distorted Humor) made up good ground and was getting to the winner late in a nice runner-up showing for trainer Graham Motion. Tab this juvenile miss as a nice prospect with a bright future.

Friday (11/20)

1ST – SEMPER FORTIS (Distorted Humor) made a fine run in the lane and pulled clear under the wire in a pretty sharp maiden tally for the level. The Doug O’Neill trainee was surprisingly not claimed out of this run and will be tough right back if properly placed after coming home in a swift :11 2/5.

7TH – NITE DELITE (War Chant) took the lead soon after the start and blew this field away, offering a punishing late run under Edwin Maldonado. The Art Sherman trainee came home like a runner who had plenty left in the tank and would be very tough next time with something resembling this performance.

Saturday (11/21)

4TH – ROCKET HEAT (Latent Heat) proved once again that he is much better on turf with a sharp wire-to-wire score over a nice field for trainer Vann Belvoir. The three-year-old might have earned a stakes chance sprinting on the green after this showing.

6TH – JEREMY’S LEGACY (Ire) (Jeremy) made a fine impression in her U.S. debut, overcoming post 11 and dominating in a big way, 5 ½ lengths clear under the wire. The Doug O’Neill trainee came home in fast fashion to dust a big field and will surely get a stakes look in her comeback.

7TH – STEALTH DRONE (Smoke Glacken) made a fine move into and through the lane in securing a powerful allowance tally under Rafael Bejarano. The Danny Velasquez trainee is in lifetime form right now and the sophomore filly will be so tough next time with a similar showing.

Sunday (11/22)

1ST – SUNDAY RULES (Tribal Rule) dueled early, dropped back a bit, rallied in the lane and then held off a tough test late in her first try on the turf. The Phil d’Amato trainee was already proven on the dirt and synthetic and this just opens up more doors going forward.

4TH – DESERT STEEL (Desert Code) ran another big one on turf with a powerful allowance tally over a nice field for trainer Simon Callaghan. The three-year-old filly will be landing in a stakes spot soon with such an affinity for this lawn.

A Look Ahead

A huge week of turf stakes action will take place at Del Mar. Thursday features the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), while Friday’s main attraction is the $250,000 Seabiscuit H. (G2).

The action heats up over the weekend as Saturday offers the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1), $150,000 Native Diver H. (G3) and the $100,000 Jimmy Durante S. (G3).

On Sunday, the $300,000 Matriarch S. (G1) leads the way and will be accompanied by the $100,000 Cecil B. Demille S. (G3).