Monday, September 01, 2008
MADEO UPSETS IN DEL MAR DERBY
Under a perfectly-judged ride by jockey Mike Smith, longshot Madeo took command in the final sixteenth and then held off the late charge of odds-on favored Gio Ponti to win the $350,000 Del Mar Derby, championship race of the summer season for three-year-olds, Sunday.
Madeo, bred and owned by Mr. And Mrs. Jerry Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, hit the wire a half-length in front of the eastern invader, Gio Ponti, who was forced wide entering the stretch under Garrett Gomez. Tangled Tango, who set the pace in the nine-furlong race over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course, held on gamely to be third, three-quarters of a length back of the runner-up and a neck in front of fourth-place Nownownow.
Gio Ponti, winner of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in mid-July, went postward at 4/5 and paid $3.20 and $2.60. Tangled Tango, a 13-1 chance, paid $6.60 to show.
In the afternoon's supporting feature, the $108,800 Torrey Pines Stakes for three-year-old fillies, Dawn Before Dawn, ridden by Gomez, led from wire-to-wire to win by a length in 1:37.10 for one mile on the main track.
Miss Singhsix was second, Distant Victory third and even-money favored Golden Doc A fourth in a field of seven fillies.
Dawn Before Dawn, owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash and trained by John Sadler, paid $17.80 while earning $65,280 with her fourth victory in nine starts. The filly is a Kentucky-bred daughter of High Yield.
Sunday's attendance was 19,716.
MIKE SMITH (Madeo) -- "He's a little bit of a funny horse to ride. I wanted to keep him down inside and covered up. He does better there. But then I had to get him out and going, but not get him going too soon. We found out if we let him out too soon, he gets to playing around and doing all sorts of things. But it broke right today and he was good enough."
GARRETT GOMEZ (Gio Ponti) -- "I'm a little disappointed in him. A bunch of little things went wrong during the race and he should have handled them. But he didn't. I used him some to get position, then we lost that position. Then don't ask me how, but I wound up six wide coming for home. He just couldn't get it done. He's a better colt than this. You didn't see his best race today."
TYLER BAZE (Tangled Tango) -- "I just let him come away from there the way he wanted to. You can put him anywhere. He was going along easy and we got a nice breather on the backside. I asked him and he fired. He ran real hard. A couple of them just went by. But he ran hard."
JULIEN LEPAROUX (Nownownow) -- "I had a good trip; no checking or anything like that. This was a strong field, though. And I think my horse needs more distance."
JOEL ROSARIO (Sky Cape) -- "No problems for me. He just didn't fire. He got tired at the end."
JOHN SHIRREFFS (Madeo) -- "He's matured a lot. He was very immature early and was a problem when he shipped. But he's begun to settle down now. Mike [jockey Mike Smith] said he was going to try to keep him a little closer to the pace than last time, and he was able to do that. The horse broke well and Mike got him into good position. Then he stuck to the rail like a magnet and had plenty left for the big finish."
NICHOLAS BACHALARD (asst. to Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti) -- "He ran a good race. The winner had a great trip on the rail. It didn't help us to fan so wide coming into the stretch, but it didn't look as if Garrett had any choice."
FRACTIONS: :23.93 :47.26 1:11.37 1:34.59 1:46.68
The stakes win was the fourth of the meet for Mike Smith, but his 21st overall at Del Mar. This is his first victory in the Del Mar Derby.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for trainer John Shirreffs, but his 11th overall at Del Mar. This is his first score in the Del Mar Derby.
Read more articles in the Del Mar category.