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Seven two-year-olds with designs on the climactic Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on closing day, Sept. 2 will display their talents Saturday in the 49th running of the Grade II $200,000 Best Pal Stakes at six furlongs at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Fore Left, trained by Doug O'Neill, is the lone stakes-winner in the line-up, having won the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park after breaking his maiden in his career debut at Santa Anita. Mario Gutierrez has the call on the Twirling Candy colt.
Race 8 at Del Mar on Saturday, August 10 - Post 8:30 PM
|1||Wrecking Crew||4-1||Mike Smith
|2||Raging Whiskey||12-1||Abel Cedillo
|3||We're Still Here||6-1||Drayden Van Dyke
|5||Collusion Illusion||8-1||Joseph Talamo
|6||Thanks Mr. Eidson||6-1||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.
|7||Fore Left||5-2||Mario Gutierrez
This colt is undefeated through two career races and has won both efforts in gate-to-wire fashion. With not a lot of speed entered, look for this colt to leave the gate hard and try and secure the front end once again. His early speed and tendency to break well are all factors that work to his advantage in a six-furlong sprint. If he can settle in nicely early, he will likely prove incredibly difficult to pass late.
With the exception of the Bob Baffert-trained We're Still Here, all other entrants have won maiden events.
Wrecking Crew (Mike Smith) has a victory over the Del Mar track, scoring at 2-5 July 27. Also successful in maiden company this summer at Del Mar were Collusion Allusion (Joe Talamo) and Thanks Mr. Eidson (Norberto Arroyo, Jr.)
Raging Whiskey (Abel Cedillo) won at Santa Anita in early June and then was third in the Sanford Stakes at Belmont Park in mid-July. Schrodinger (Flavien Prat) won his race debut at Los Alamitos in good fashion at 2-5, while We're Still Here (Drayden Van Dyke) has been runner-up in two maiden efforts.
Kaleem Shah's Schrodinger, a $500,000 purchase at the March sale in Ocala, Fla., was made the 2-1 favorite on oddsmaker Russ Hudak's morning line.
Schrodinger, a son of Justin Phillip trained by Simon Callaghan, won his racing debut at Los Alamitos on June 30 and has two bullet works here since then.
Schrodinger is one of five Best Pal entrants acquired via sales for prices ranging from $200,000 to $875,000. Mark Glatt-trained Collusion Illusion is in the middle of the group, having gone for $300,000 at the Ocala, Fla., sale in January.
Collusion Illusion, a son of Twirling Candy, debuted here on July 21 with a half-length victory over Defense Wins at five furlongs.
"Going in we thought he was a really nice horse and obviously he performed that day," said Ryan Glatt, son and assistant to Mark. "The original plan was to go straight to the Futurity with him, but he's trained so well and it's not a big field so we're going to give it a shot."
Post time for the first of nine races is 2 p.m.
Two-year-old Instagrand, a $1.2 million purchase last March, offered further proof that he is a star in the making Saturday with a brilliant victory in the featured Grade II $200,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar.
A ten-length winner in his career debut June 29 at Los Alamitos, Instagrand went to the gate at 1-9 and ran to his odds as he scored by ten and one-quarter lengths under jockey Drayden Van Dyke, seemingly with much in reserve. Leading from the break, he completed six furlongs in 1:10.27. Fractional times were :23 flat for the first quarter, :46.54 at the half and :58.17 for five furlongs. Thus, the winner ran his last quarter in less than 24 seconds while under only mild urging.
Sparky Ville, a 14-1 longshot under Gary Stevens, rallied for runner-up honors, three and one-quarter lengths in front of Synthesis, with Owning a fading fourth after pressing the pace of the winner in the early stages. Mason Dixon was fifth and last.
Instagrand, a bay colt by Into Mischief bred in Kentucky, was bought by Larry Best of Boston, Massachusetts who races as OXO Equine at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of two-year-olds in training. Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer trains Instagrand, who will now be pointed to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs on closing day, Sept. 3.
Instagrand earned $120,000 with his Best Pal victory, increasing his bankroll to $144,000. To his backers, he paid $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10. Because of strong wagering on the colt, there was a minus place pool of $572 and a minus show pool of $76,911.
Second-place Sparky Ville paid $4.80 and $3.60, while Synthesis returned $4.20 to show.
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