Sunday, August 24, 2008
SPRING HOUSE WINS DEL MAR HANDICAP
R.D. Hubbard's Spring House, the 3-5 favorite under jockey Corey Nakatani, punched his ticket for the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf on October 25 with a hard-earned triumph Saturday in the 69th running of the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap at the marathon distance of a mile and three-eighths over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Spring House rallied along the rail in the stretch to outduel 8-1 Transduction Gold and win by 1 ½ lengths in course record time of 2:11.14, eclipsing the 2:12.07 mark of Crazy Ensign set in 2003.
The Del Mar Handicap is a "Win and You're In" event in advance of the Breeders' Cup which will be presented at Santa Anita. The B.C. Turf is programmed at a mile and one-half.
Spring House, a six-year-old gelded son of Chester House bred in Kentucky and trained by Julio Canani, paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.10 while earning $150,000 with his seventh victory in 33 career efforts. His lifetime bankroll now is $718,284.
Transduction Gold, who was piloted by Jon Court, returned $6.40 and $5, while You Got Me Rocking paid $5.60 to show.
Attendance today was 18,554.
Del Mar Handicap
COREY NAKATANI (Spring House) -- "I just did what I was told. Julio (Canani) told me to let him run away from there and to sit fourth or fifth. It was easy. He was comfortable all the way around there and so was I. When you have one like this, it makes it easy. He's a Breeders' Cup caliber horse. There's no doubt about that.
"I appreciate Julio giving me a chance with this horse. I've made some mistakes along the way but I'm getting better. A second chance can mean a lot and I've got to take advantage of mine."
JON COURT (Transduction Gold) -- "He ran great but he was just second best today. The game plan was to go to the lead, but when the gates open in horse racing, anything can happen. I didn't think I would be worse than second or third and I was fourth. Those two guys in front (Joel Rosario on You Got Me Rocking and Joe Talamo on American Imperium) got in a hurry and I told John (trainer John Glenney) before we went out that the four (American Imperium) and the five (You Got Me Rocking) could hook up. The last thing I wanted to do was eyeball them. If I get the lead in front of them, fine. That wasn't the plan. Plan B ended up being Plan A."
JOEL ROSARIO (You Got Me Rocking) -- "I let him go (to the front). He likes it up there. I didn't want to take a hold and mess with him. That's how he runs. We weren't running that fast and he was comfortable. He hung in there."
JULIO CANANI (Spring House) -- "This horse was 100 per cent healthy and I expected him to run good. He's one of the soundest horses I've ever trained. I told Corey just to lay fourth or fifth and then make one big run. He gave the horse a great ride. He trains sensational on this synthetic track. I might have to try to run a race on it sometime."
FRACTIONS:ï¿½ :23.84 :47.04 1:11.04ï¿½ 1:35.51 1:59.45ï¿½ 2:11.14
(The time is both a stakes and course record, eclipsing 2:12.15 run by Delta Form in winning the race in 2002 and the 2:12.07 run by Crazy Ensign in 2003.)
The stakes win was the first of the meeting for Corey Nakatani, but his 93rd overall at Del Mar, which is fifth best all-time at the track. It is the first time he's won the Del Mar Handicap.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for Julio Canani, but his 37th overall at Del Mar, good enough for seventh best in track history. This is the first time he has won the Del Mar Handicap.
R. D. Hubbard, Spring House's owner, is the former C.E.O. of Hollywood Park in Los Angeles and currently is majority owner of Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
Read more articles in the Del Mar category.