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. - US Legal online OTB is a great way to bet horse racing at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Available to customers across the United States, OTB features both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing from major racing venues in the US as well as top international racing from Europe, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

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