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A field of 10 stout sprinters will travel seven furlongs Saturday, August 28 at Del Mar in the 36th edition of the Grade II, $200,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes.
The extended dash offers extra incentive to its participants: it is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge race providing an all-fees-paid admission to the $1-million Breeders' Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile on Saturday, November 6 at Del Mar.
Race 10 at Del Mar on Saturday, August 28 - Post 9:35 PM
|1||Ginobili||6-1||Drayden Van Dyke
|3||Surfing Star||30-1||Jessica Pyfer
|4||Mo Mosa||10-1||Ramon Vazquez
|5||Eight Rings||6-1||Abel Cedillo
|7||Brickyard Ride||8-1||Juan Hernandez
|9||C Z Rocket||5-2||Florent Geroux
|10||California Street||30-1||Wayne Barnett
Foremost among the runners is the defending O'Brien champ, Madaket Stables, Barber or Kagele, et al's C Z Rocket, a veteran gelding who found a new lease on life when he was haltered for $40,000 16 months ago and took up residence in the barn of trainer Peter Miller. All the 7-year-old has done since is win seven races, four of them stakes, and place in three other added-money tests to bank more than $1.1-million for his new connections.
His regular rider of late, Florent Geroux, will come into town to accept the mount Saturday and they'll break from Post 9 in the seven-furlong chute. C Z Rocket has been made the 5/2 morning line favorite by Del Mar's morning line maker Jon White.
Chief threat to C Z Rocket appears to be another classy veteran, the 7-year-old Flagstaff, a winner of seven races and $1,011,585. The gelding by sprint champion Speightstown has made five starts this year, but this will be his first in his California home base. He's run at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Keeneland and Churchill Downs in Kentucky and Belmont Park in New York, winning a pair of Graded stakes and placing in another. Flagstaff ran second in the O'Brien last year, a half length behind C Z Rocket.
Trainer Bob Baffert has a pair in the dash in Eight Rings and Classier. The former, a 4-year-old colt by Empire Maker, was second beaten only a neck in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at six furlongs earlier in the meet. Classier, a 3-year-old colt also by Empire Maker, shortens up off a score in the Los Alamitos Derby at nine furlongs on July 4.
Ginobili comes into the heat of a romping nine and three-quarter lengths triumph in an allowance race at Del Mar on July 17. He was running a mile that day and will be looking for his first stakes victory Saturday.
Howbeit is another coming into the race off a smart allowance score - two of them, in fact. The Secret Circle 4-year-old has six wins and $230,956 in earnings.
Brickyard Ride, one of only two California-breds in the field, sports a record of eight wins with earnings of $470,477. Much of his money making has been accomplished against state-breds, but he has won against open company, including a tally in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita this past March.
Here's the full field for the O'Brien from the rail out with riders and morning line odds: Slam Dunk Racing, McClanahan or Nentwig, et al's Ginobili (Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1); Little Red Feather Racing, It Pays to Dream Racing Stable or Kawahara, et al's Howbeit (Kyle Frey, 6-1); Barnhart, Foxx or Naify, et al's Surfing Star (apprentice Jessica Pyfer, 30-1); Martin or Martin's Mo Mosa (Ramon Vazquez, 10-1); Coolmore Stud, Madaket Stables or Starlight Racing, et al's Eight Rings (Abel Cedillo, 6-1); SF Racing, Starlight Racing or Madaket Stables, et al's Classier (Mario Gutierrez, 12-1); Alfred Pais' Brickyard Ride (Juan Hernandez, 8-1); Lanes' End Racing or Hronis Racing's Flagstaff (Joe Bravo, 3-1); C Z Rocket, and Gilbert and Sones' California Street (Wayne Barnett, 30-1).
Post time for the Saturday 11-race card is at 2 p.m.
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