United Seeks First Stakes Score
Courtesy of Emily Shields of TVG
A well-matched edition of the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) is on tap Saturday, with the winner receiving an automatic berth into the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) November 2.
LNJ Foxwoods runner United is seeking his first stakes win, but trainer Richard Mandella – who has never won the race - has the four-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding primed off a win going 1 1/8 miles here July 17. The Del Mar Handicap is over 1 3/8 miles, but United did well in the 1 ¼ mile Charles Whittingham (G2) at Santa Anita in May; he clipped heels crossing the dirt and still ran second beaten less than a length.
The horse that beat him that day, Marckie’s Water, will start alongside here. Marckie’s Water has since been second in the Eddie Read (G2) over this course, but he is a two-time winner in 2019 so far. Richard Baltas trains the California-bred son of Tribal Rule, who gets regular pilot Tiago Pereira, Jr. back aboard here. Marckie’s Water was a winner over the trip last year.
Acclimate and Oscar Dominguez ran first and second in the San Juan Capistrano (G3) at Santa Anita in June, and meet again here. Acclimate showed speed in his last two victories, but then took off the pace in the California Dreamin and was well beaten. Oscar Dominguez hasn’t run since the San Juan, and has yet to win after eight starts on this turf course.
Itsinthepost (Fr) has not won since the 2018 Charles Whittingham, but the $1.2 million earner was second on the main track here July 24. That was his second start off a 10-month layoff; last year he won four grade 2 races in five starts before his streak was snapped. Jeff Mullins trains the seven-year-old gelding, who will have Drayden Van Dyke up.
Arnaud Delacour ships in The Great Day (Arg), a grade 1 winner in Argentina who makes his third United States start here. He was second in the Arlington Handicap (G3) under Flavien Prat last out, but gets jockey John Velazquez for this. He has won over 1 ¼ miles in the past.
Ritzy A.P. has a decent record at Del Mar with three top three efforts in six starts. He was third in the Eddie Read (G2) last out, beaten only 2 ¼ lengths. He was a Santa Rosa stakes winner last year.
Del Mar turf course winner Blended Citizen and 30-1 shot Arizona Moon complete the field of nine. The Del Mar Handicap is slated as race 7 on an action-packed Saturday card, which includes the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic. Coverage of the Del Mar summer meet can be viewed daily on TVG.
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