Las Vegas, NV - Del Mar Race Track racetrack in Del Mar, California will be the scene of the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap this Saturday, July 27. Horses three years old and upward will go 1 1/16 miles on Del Mar's dirt track in search of the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.
A field of six older horses will take to the track in the San Diego handicap - race 8 on Del Mar's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:40 PM. Here is a brief look into the past performances of all sex combatants for this competitive Grade 2 stakes which acts as a major prep for the $1 million Pacific Classic August 25.
Paynter - Bob Baffert trained Paynter had a very impressive second in the Belmont Stakes in 2012 and went on to a terrific win in the Grade 1 Haskell last July. He then was forced to the sidelines for close to 11 months with an illness that almost claimed his life. Paynter recently returned in story book fashion with an Allowance score at Hollywood Park by 4 1/2 lengths as 2-5 favorite June 14 and now has three wins and two seconds in his last five starts for trainer Bob Baffert. Paynter has four wins and two seconds in seven career starts - the lone off-the-board finish coming in April 2012 - a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He will likely be the morning line favorite if not the sentimental favorite this Saturday.
Liaison - Bob Baffert trained Liaison entered the competitive Travers Stakes in August in a bit of a slump - zero wins in seven starts - he finished a distant ninth in that race and then endured an eight month layoff. He last tasted victory the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity for trainer Bob Baffert on December 17, 2011 before breaking that slump March 31 in the minor Santana Mile Stakes at Santa Anita and he followed that with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap May 4. Last time out was another good result - a second in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes as even-money favorite at Hollywood Park June 1. He was considered a serious contender for last year's Kentucky Derby and finished sixth then had a third place finishes in the Grade 2 Swaps and Jim Dandy Stakes last summer. He is highly regarded and hopes are that he can keep roll going. He's has two wins and a second in 2013 and looks like the colt everyone thought he's be before last year's Triple Crown.
Kettle Corn - has placed in 12 of his last 14 starts and is coming off a good second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup behind Game On Dude after a fourth in the Grade 2 Californian June 1, a second to Liaison in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap May 4, a third in the Grade 3 Native Dancer Stakes December 1 and an Allowance score November 8 - his only win in the last 18 months. He also had two consecutive wins at the end of 2011 including the Grade 3 Native Diver. Kettle Corn has two seconds in three starts this year and enters in so-so form. He hasn't tasted victory since the 2011 Native Diver Handicap but has done well in the past at Del Mar.
Clubhouse Ride - had an incredible five straight runner-up finishes including the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 20 behind Game On Dude, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 2, the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes in February, the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes in December and an Allowance Optional Claiming on January 10 before breaking through with his first win in over seven months in the Grade 2 Californian June 1. Last time out however was his worst result in seven starts - a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park July 6 after tiring. He has just four wins, eight seconds and eight third place finishes in 29 career starts but has been at or near the top in his last seven starts overall. Most of his recent losses came at the hands of Game On Dude who won't be a part of the San Diego Handicap.
Chief Havoc - Peter Miller trained colt enters having won three of his last four starts - in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes last time out at Hollywood Park, an Allowance by 4 3/4 lengths at Hollywood Park May 30 and a MSW at Santa Anita April 4. Sandwiched in there is a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming May 3. His only other graded stakes action came in his first North American start in October - a sixth in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. He now has three wins in eight career starts - all of those wins coming in his last four starts.
Batti Man - Argentinean bred gelding raced in stakes company for the first time and finished an OK fourth in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup March 23 after nine Allowance Optional Claiming and a Claiming race in North American produced three seconds and a third place finish. He had two wins and two third place finishes in four starts at home before shipping to North America. He had an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Hollywood Park May 17 but followed that with a fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Californian June 1. He has three wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 18 career starts.