Of the 49 stakes victories at Del Mar Hall of Fame trainer has recorded from 1978-2011, the number produced by younger horses can be counted on two hands. Unofficially, one hand and three fingers of the other.
Mandella has one victory in the El Cajon Stakes for three-year-olds, Mamaison in 1983, and one in the Del Mar Debutante, Halfbridled in 2003. But he’s intending to add to those totals, and offer evidence of the youth movement in his stable when he sends out Jimmy Creed in today’s $100,000 El Cajon Stakes and Beholder in Saturday’s Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante.
At the Del Mar meeting’s outset Mandella said, with typical wry wit and slight exaggeration, “For the first time in 30 years, I’m fresh out of older horses.”
Not completely, but Mandella – who has won the Pacific Classic three times, the Eddie Read and Bing Crosby twice – did have a high-for-him 15 horses nominated to the Debutante and nine to the Futurity.
Jimmy Creed and Beholder have each contributed one win to Mandella’s five for the meeting. Jimmy Creed, a 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor owned by Spendthrift Farm LLC , made his racing debut with a runner-up result on May 28 at Hollywood Park, and has followed with back-to-back wins. The first in a maiden event at Hollywood Park on July 4, the second at the allowance level on July 29 at Del Mar, covering six furlongs on the Polytrack in 1:09.20 and earning a 92 Beyer Figure.
The El Cajon is one mile on the main track.
Beholder, a 2-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes also owned by Spendthrift Farm, finished fourth behind Executiveprivilege, beaten 8 ½ lengths, in the racing debut for both on June 28 at Hollywood Park. Since then, Executiveprivilege has won the Landaluce for the Hollywood Park juvenile fillies championship and the Debutante-prep 6 ½-furlong Grade III Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar while Beholder broke her maiden by 3 ½ lengths in a 5 ½ furlong race at Del Mar on July 22.
“She needed her first race, then came down here and won easy and she’s trained like a monster since,” Mandella said of Beholder. “It gives us every reason to believe she can be very good, and she’ll have to be to beat Baffert’s filly, that’s for sure.
“Jimmy Creed has always showed us a lot of talent and he’s won his last two in very nice fashion. We always thought he wanted a mile and we’re going to find out. We hope we’re on to bigger and better things.”
Garrett Gomez has the mount on both Jimmy Creed and Beholder.
Of the out-of-necessity youth movement, Mandella said: “It’s fun, it’s nice. We don’t have the older horses we once had, but I’m not complaining, I’m very grateful for the ones we did have. But nothing lasts forever and we’re lucky to have these nice young ones to start redeveloping.”
BEST PAL-PREPPED FILLIES POST DEBUTANTE THREAT
Being what he termed, “top heavy” with good 2-year-old fillies, trainer Peter Miller opted to race Heir Kitty and Miss Empire against males in the Best Pal stakes on August 5 and Speedinthruthecity and Bares Tripper against fillies in the Sorrento Stakes on August 8.
The result was a second for Heir Kitty and third for Miss Empire in the Best Pal with Heir Kitty edged by only a half-length by winner Know More and Miss Empire beaten only 1 ¾ lengths. In the Sorrento, Speedinthruthecity moved up the rail in the stretch to finish second to Executiveprivilege, beaten 1 ½ lengths.
Miller was unconcerned about the fillies vs. colts issue for the Best Pal, and entered all three in Saturday’s $300,000 Grade I Debutante. He is likely to scratch Speedinthruthecity, however, for the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf on Monday.
The Best Pal was won in 1:16 flat for for 6 ½ furlongs on Polytrack. Executiveprivilege won the Sorrento in 1:16.80 for the same distance.
GARCIA NOTCHES NO. 1,000 –AND THEN SOME
Jockey Martin Garcia, 27-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, scored the milestone 1,000th victory of his career Thursday when he booted home Bubba Fizz in the second race .
Bubba Fizz, a two-year-old gelded son of Sunriver owned by JR Riley Stables and trained by Mike Mitchell, responded gamely to Garcia’s handling in the stretch to defeat Disarm by a head in the six furlong race over Del Mar’s main track. Third choice in the wagering, Bubba Fizz paid $12.40 to win.
“I’m very lucky to win 1,000 and I look forward to winning a lot more,” Garcia said after the victory. “I don’t have any number picked out. I just want to keep winning as much as I can.”
Garcia, again solidly entrenched among the top riders at Del Mar this summer, garnered his first career triumph August 17, 2005 at Bay Meadows. He enjoyed considerable success in the San Francisco area before coming to Southern California. In 2006, his first season at Del Mar, he finished second in the standings to champion Victor Espinoza.
Garcia, who didn’t begin his career until age 20, made it 1,001 wins in Thursday’s seventh race, clicking astride 7-1 longshot Royal Encounter, also trained by Mitchell. Royal Encounter paid $17.60 and gave the young rider his 19th victory this season and a tie for fourth spot in the standings.
That situation only lasted until the featured eighth race which Garcia also won, going wire-to-wire aboard Racing Aptitude for trainer Bob Baffert, giving him a triple for the afternoon, 1,002 career wins and his 20th triumph of the meeting and making him all alone in fourth place in the standings behind Rafael Bejarano, Joe Talamo and Garrett Gomez.
PICK SIX CARRYOVERS TIE A MEETING RECORD
For a record-tying 13th time at the meet, Del Mar will offer a Pick Six carryover when racing begins Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Thursday’s card – which featured a Pick Six carryover of $93,491 going into the nine-race program – saw $634,135 of “new” money come chasing the elusive six-win bet to no avail. The final straw came in the ninth race when rider Daniel Vergara booted home Big Man in Town for a $129.40 payoff, the highest win price of the 277 races held through 32 days of the 37-day session.
The total pot for the Thursday Pick Six wound up at $727,626 and, when the longshot smoke had cleared, the latest Pick Six carryover – the third double carry of the stand – registered at $432,260. There have been several years when the track had as many as 13 Pick Six carryovers. The records of Lynn Wright, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Vice President and Controller, show it to be the fourth time in six years, following 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Friday’s card will offer only seven races, meaning the Pick Six begins with the second race.
CLASSY SEVEN FOR BRUBAKER
John Scott and Kettle Corn, the 2-3 finishers in the Grade II San Diego Handicap on July 28 and Pacific Classic candidates up until entry deadline, are the top choices in an accomplished field of seven for Saturday’s Harry F. Brubaker Stakes.
The $85,000 event, at one mile on the main track, will go as the fourth on an 11-race card and provide an early highlight on a day which features the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante.
John Scott, trained by Carla Gaines for Harris Farms Inc. and to be ridden by Victor Espinoza, is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Kettle Corn, trained by John Sadler for C R K Stable and to be ridden by Garrett Gomez, is the 5-2 second choice.
In addition to Kettle Corn, other graded stakes winners in the field include Tres Borrachos (8-1, Patrick Valenzuela), Midnight Interlude (4-1, Rafael Bejarano) and Positive Response (Juan Hernandez, 12-1).
JOCKEY NOTES, UPDATE
Rafael Bejarano is back on Real Good Deal Stakes winner Unusual Heatwave (5-2) in Friday’s $100,000 El Cajon Stakes. A victory would be the 12th stakes win of the meeting for Bejarano, tying the record shared by four others and most recently accomplished by Corey Nakatani in 1998.
Bejarano has a 12-win margin over Joe Talamo in the meet standings with five racing days remaining.
TRAINER NOTES, UPDATE
Let basketball players have their precious double-doubles. Bob Baffert is going for a double-triple.
With 99 stakes victories at Del Mar, the Hall of Fame conditioner needs only one more Del Mar stakes victory to hit triple figures in big-money wins at a second major Southern California track. Baffert has 120 stakes wins at the Santa Anita winter/spring meeting and 40 more at fall meetings at the Arcadia track.
Baffert has 90 stakes victories at Betfair Hollywood Park, 11 of them coming at the 2012 spring-summer meeting in Inglewood which preceded Del Mar.
Peter Miller remains tied for the meeting training lead with suspended Doug O’Neill with Baffert only one win behind.
Miller has 12 horses entered on the Friday-Saturday-Sunday cards, Baffert nine over the same period.
CLOSERS – Trainer Don Warren reports that Acclamation is doing well and there have been preliminary discussions between Warren and owner Bud Johnston regarding a possible return to training for the 2011 Eclipse Award older male champion. Acclamation was sidelined 11 days before a planned title defense in the Pacific Classic due to a strained ligament in the fetlock area of the left front hoof. “He looks real good,” Warren said. “But it’s such a rare little injury, as long as we’ve been in the business we haven’t seen anything that lets us know how these things react. We’re trying to put our heads together and make the right decision.” … Trainer Leandro Mora said Richard’s Kid came out of the Pacific Classic in good shape. The two-time Pacific Classic winner will remain at Del Mar through the end of the meeting, then be shipped to the stable’s Hollywood Park headquarters. That will be a change for Richard’s Kid, who was at Santa Anita while trained by Bob Baffert…There are no Ship And Win bonus eligible horses on Friday’s program, the first such instance all season.