Native Diver Stakes 2021: Field & Odds at Del Mar

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Del Mar Press Release
Updated: November 18, 2021

In an absolutely wide-open renewal of the Grade 3, $100,000 Native Diver Stakes Saturday at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, eight older horses will hook up for a mile and one-eighth tussle that serves as the feature event on a fine nine-race card.

This will be the 44th running of the Native Diver, named for one of California's greatest stakes horses and its first to win $1 million in purses. The initial 36 editions of the race were conducted at the now-closed Hollywood Park, while the seven most recent have been held at Del Mar.

2021 Native Diver Stakes Field & Odds

Race 8 at Del Mar on Saturday, November 20 - Post 7:00 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Established 6-1 Victor Espinoza
121 Lbs
Richard Baltas
2 Midcourt 4-1 Edwin Maldonado
121 Lbs
John Shirreffs
3 Wicked Trick 8-1 Umberto Rispoli
121 Lbs
Robert Hess, Jr.
4 Bal Harbour 8-1 Joe Bravo
121 Lbs
Gregory Sacco
5 Azul Coast 4-1 Flavien Prat
121 Lbs
Bob Baffert
6 Eight Rings 7-2 Juan Hernandez
121 Lbs
Bob Baffert
7 Ax Man 6-1 Mike Smith
121 Lbs
Bob Baffert
8 Kiss Today Goodbye 5-1 Kent Desormeaux
121 Lbs
J. Kruljac

A check of the past performances of the eight runners tells you right away that they're stacked as close as a pile of bricks on a construction site. Morning line maker Jon White got out his hammer and chisel and managed to separate them as best he could, making the favorite a lukewarm 7/2, dropping a pair of horse in right behind at 4-1, one at 5-1 and two more at 6-1. We're talking tight here, folks.

That lukewarm fav is Eight Rings, the 4-year-old colt by Empire Maker owned by the collection of Coolmore Stud, Golconda Stables, Madaket Stables, SF Racing and Starlight Racing. Bob Baffert trains the $414,451 earner and has secured the saddle services of Juan Hernandez for the nine-furlong journey Saturday.

The two runners right behind him at 4-1 on the line are C R K Stable's Midcourt, who won this race in 2019 and finished second in it in 2020, and Pegram, Watson and Weitman's Azul Coast, a Super Saver 4-year-old colt who now has three races under his belt this year after 10-month layoff.

Here's the full field for the Native Diver from the rail out with riders and morning line odds:

Iavarone or Iavarone's Established (Victor Espinoza, 6-1); Midcourt (Edwin Maldonado); Bernsen, Cady or Lambert, et al's Wicket Trick (Umberto Rispoli, 8-1); Red Oak Stable's Bal Harbour (Joe Bravo, 8-1); Azul Coast (Flavien Prat); Eight Rings; Patti and Hal Earnhardt's Ax Man (Mike Smith, 6-1), and John Sondereker's Kiss Today Goodbye (Kent Desormeaux, 5-1).

Eight Rings chased blitzing Life Is Good in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last out on November 6 at Del Mar. He turned in a bullet five-furlong drill at Santa Anita subsequently on November 15.

Midcourt, a 6-year-old gelding by Midnight Lute, has finished in the top three in 13 of his 18 starts and sports a bankroll of $613,195. He's a multiple-stakes winner.

Azul Coast should be ready to fire his best shot now. He's had a series of good works of late since finishing unplaced in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on October 2.

Ax Man, a 6-year-old gelding by the Candy Ride stallion Misremembered, will be making his first start in six months. He's won seven races and $363,797.

Trainer Baffert not only oversees Eight Rings, but also Azul Coast and Ax Man.

First post for the Saturday card is at 12:30 p.m.

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