Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Del Mar Mile goes down at - you guessed it - Del Mar Race Track in the great state of California this Sunday, August 24. A purse of $250,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to race one mile on Del Mar's turf track.
A field of eight will line up in the Del Mar Handicap - race 5 on Del Mar's impressive Sunday card. Post time is 3:00 PM. Here is a brief look into the past performances of all eight entries for this Grade 2 stakes.
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2014 Del Mar Mile Race Favorite Entries
Obviously - Irish bred gelding and defending two time champion in this race and set the one mile turf record here during his 2012 win. Obviously has won 11 of 20 starts overall with four seconds and two third place finishes. He won the 2013 Shoemaker Mile in the middle of three straight wins including the 2013 Del Mar Mile and the 2013 American Handicap and enters on a two race win streak - the Grade 1 Shoemaker last time out June 14 in gate to wire fashion and the Grade3 American Stakes in May. He did have his worst career stretch - a fifth in the Breeders' Cup Mile and a fourth in the Grade 2 City of Hope Stakes in October but that seem like a thing of the past. He has won eight of his last 12 starts and looks to be in stellar form ahead of this weekend. Obviously is 3-for-3 on Del Mar turf, is 8-for-11 at this distance and hasn't been beaten this year in two starts - making him the one to beat Sunday. Joe Talamo gets the call from the rail Sunday.
Tom's Tribute - has 12 career starts for trainer James Cassidy with five wins, three seconds and a third place finish - the third coming two back - behind Obviously in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita June 14. Before and after that were wins - after trailing by 11 lengths in the minor Thunder Road Stakes - in course record time April 6 and last time out in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes here July 20. He also had an ugly seventh in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile here in March, a second in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes in February and a two race win streak toward the end of 2013 - in the overnight Uniformity Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths October 20 which followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score also here September 29. Tom's Tribute has two wins, a second and a third place finish in his last five starts and is definitely trending upward ahead of this weekend. The legendary Mike Smith has the mount from post 2 Sunday.
Del Mar Mile 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Lil Bit O'Fun - will race in graded stakes company for the first time since 2011 Sunday but enters on a tidy three race win streak - the minor Wickerr Stakes at 20-1 odds on this track July 23, an Allowance Optional Claiming in June and a Claiming score in October. He wasn't great before that - registering a tenth and a sixth respectively in Allowance Optional Claiming races here. Lil Bit O' Fun has 32 career starts with seven wins, five seconds and a third place finish and will line up in post 7 with Aaron Gryder aboard.
Rock Me Baby - is coming off a nice win in the minor California Dreamin' Handicap here July 27 which followed a third in the minor Bertrando Stakes July 3 and a trio of off the board finishes - a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming to start 2014, a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint to end 2013 and a seventh in the Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes in September. Rock Me Baby has yet to place in a graded stakes race but has been quite effective against minor stakes competition. He hopes to finally break through against the big boys with Corey Nakatani in the reins from post 6.
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He Be Fire N Ice - won four of nine starts last year (five of 15 career) but has yet to hit the track in 2014. He had a tidy three race win streak early last year - the minor California Dreamin' Handicap July 21 after a couple of Allowance scores at Hollywood Park. He then had a pair of seconds in graded stakes races - the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile and the Del Mar Mile behind Obviously August 25. He was eighth in his last start - way back in November in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Kent Desormeaux gets the call in He Be Fire N Ice's 2014 debut from the outside post.
Handsome Mike - has just three wins in 29 career starts including the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in September, 2012 and in April, 2013 at the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes. He has been typically inconsistent lately - a fifth last time out in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap here July 26 followed a second in the minor American Flag Stakes July 4, a second behind Fury Kapcori in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes May 3 and a third in the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes April 13 - with a sixth in the Grade 2 Californian sandwiched in there. He ended 2013 with an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and a third in the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes. He looks for his first win since April, 2013 (13 starts) with Mario Gutierrez aboard from post 4 in Handsome Mike's return to grass.
Tigah - British bred entry finished fifth in this race last year and has not been back in stakes company since. Last time out was a second in an Allowance August 16 which followed a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming and a Claiming score on this track July 20. He did win the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile in April, 2013 but hasn't been great since. Alonso Quinonez will be in charge for Tigah's first stakes race in a year when he leaves from post 3.
Alpha Bullet - Bobby Wayne Grayson trained colt makes his stakes debut Sunday after six career starts produced three wins and three second place finishes. He is coming off a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming here August 3 after a two race win streak - an Allowance Optional Claiming July 5 and a Starter Allowance in June. Elvis Trujillo rides Alpha Bullet for his big step up in competition from post 5.