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Del Mar Thoroughbred Club concludes its 80th summer season of equine action Labor Day Monday in a traditional way, featuring renewal of the Grade I $300,00 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity for two-year-olds as the highlight of a ten-race program. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m.
The seven-furlong sprint, which has showcased numerous Thoroughbred stars of the future since its inauguration in l948, attracted a talented field of eight first-year runners.
Race 9 at Del Mar on Monday, September 02 - Post 9:08 PM
|1||Storm the Court||5-1||Flavien Prat
|2||Eight Rings||5-2||Drayden Van Dyke
|3||Defense Wins||12-1||Rafael Bejarano
|6||Fore Left||8-1||Mario Gutierrez
|7||Nucky||8-1||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.
|8||Wrecking Crew||7-2||Abel Cedillo
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a 14-time Futurity winner, will send out the morning line favorite in Eight Rings, a six and one-quarter length winner in his debut August 4.
A son of Empire Maker purchased for $520,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale of yearlings, Eight Rings followed up a string of sizzling works here with a 6 ¼-length victory under Drayden Van Dyke in his racing debut on August 4 and has continued to shine in the mornings since.
Baffert is also entering stablemate Garth, second in a maiden event at odds of 1-5. Drayden Van Dyke returns aboard Eight Rings, while Mike Smith will pilot Garth, donning blinkers for the race.
Certain to attract support is Wrecking Crew who overcame a slow start in the Best Pal Stakes to be second, beaten a length and one-quarter. Abel Cedillo has the call from trainer Peter Miller who also will saddle Nucky, a ten and one-half length winner of a $100,000 maiden claiming race. Norberto Arroyo, Jr. rides Nucky.
Seeking a third Futurity victory will be trainer Doug O'Neill, to be represented by Defense Wins, Rafael Bejarano, and Fore Left, Mario Gutierrez. Fore Left won the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York in early June and was third in the Best Pal. Fore Left also will be equipped with blinkers. Defense Wins was second in a maiden event, beaten a half-length.
Completing the line-up are Storm the Court, with Del Mar's leading rider, Flavien Prat, drawing the mount, and Ginobili, impressive victor in a maiden contest, to be handled by Florent Geroux.
Supporting feature on the program is the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf at one mile on the grass.
Entrants are Convoluted, Awesome Drive, Applecross, A Thousand Dreams, Croughavouke, Flamigo Bay, Acai, Warren's Showtime, Yesterdayoncemore, Shedaresthedevil, Overjoyed, Mean Sophia and Text Don't Call.
Eight stakes dot the racing calendar over the final six days, highlighted by the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on Saturday, August 31 and the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on closing day, September 2.
Trainer Doug O'Neill sent out Defense Wins and Fore Left, two prospects for the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity, for final workouts Sunday morning. The traditional closing day feature, which determines the juvenile champion of the meeting, will be run on Labor Day Monday, September 2 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Defense Wins, a son of Flatter who was a $175,000 purchase in March, debuted with a runner-up finish, beaten a half-length by Collusion Illusion, on July 21. Collusion Illusion went on to win the Best Pal Stakes on August 10, but is unlikely for the Futurity.
With Rafael Bejarano in the irons, Del Mar clockers had Defense Wins covering five furlongs in 1:02.40. "It went really well," O'Neill said. While no commitments have been made yet, O'Neill was hopeful of securing Bejarano to ride in the Futurity.
Fore Left, a son of Twirling Candy who finished third as the favorite in the Best Pal, was ridden by Evin Roman in the workout but will have Mario Gutierrez up for the Futurity.
Breaking from the gate, Fore Left was timed in 1:01.80. O'Neill had interim fractions of :24.20, :48.60 with the gallop-out to six furlongs in 1:14.80. Fore Left wore blinkers for the first time while working in company with stablemate War Beast whom Del Mar clockers had in :48.80 for four furlongs.
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|