Piloted by talented young rider Joel Rosario, Sky Cape rallied alongside Tangled Tango into the stretch, outduelled that one en route to a 1 1/2 length triumph in a fast 1:40.92 for the mile and one-sixteenth on the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course, ensuring the win with a final sixteenth in blazing :5.3 seconds.
Sky Cape, a Kentucky-bred son of Najran owned by Steve Taub and the Visionary Racing stable of trainer-breeder Kristin Mulhall, earned a prize of $90,000 with his fifth success in 14 starts. His career bankroll is $320,230. Sent postward at 12-1, the colt returned $27.60, $11.60 and $7.40.
Runner-up Tangled Tango paid $6.60 and $4.20, while Liberian Freighter paid $7.80 to show.
The La Jolla Handicap is the final prelude for sophomores prior to the $350,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, August 31.
Rosario capped his day with a third win aboard Speed Passport in the tenth race. Earlier, he won the sixth on Stettler. Baze's winners were Cost of Freedom, who set a Polytrack record of 1:08.29 for six furlongs in the day's opener; Malibu Canyon in the third and Moves Like a Cat in the eighth.
La Jolla Handicap
JOEL ROSARIO (Sky Cape) -- "She (trainer Kristin Mulhall) told me he would want to go early and to take a hold; to get him behind horses and covered up.
I did, but he really did want to go. I could tell the pace was on the slow side, so I moved up with him. Then when I asked him, he really went. Oh, he's a nice horse. I really like riding horses like him."
TYLER BAZE (Tangled Tango) -- "I had the perfect trip. The winner just kicked off on us. I got outrun today."
DAVID FLORES (Liberian Freighter) -- "He relaxed early; he was running so easy with his ears up. I said 'I'm in good position.' When we went into the far turn, I said 'Let's go.' I couldn't wait then. He tried, but he got a little tired late. It was a good race for him."
KRISTIN MULHALL (Sky Cape) -- "I would have been happy with third in here. He's been training really great, but he got sick on Oceanside Stakes day [opening day, July 16] and he lost about a week of training, so I wasn't sure how sharp he'd be. We thought we were going to have a big day in the Oceanside, but after he got sick we had to point for this race. He's never been more relaxed than he was today, and that seemed to be the answer. Usually, you can tell how he's going to run by the way he acts in the paddock. Today, he was very good, even though I had to saddle him on the move. That's the way he is. He needed this race. Now, we'll look ahead to the Del Mar Derby [Sunday, August 31]."
FRACTIONS: :24.01 48.14 1:11.75 1:35.07 1:40.92
The winner ran his final sixteenth in :5.61.
The stakes win was the first ever at Del Mar for Joel Rosario.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for Kristin Mulhall, but her fifth overall at Del Mar.
Sky Cape is owned by Steve Taub, a former Los Angeles auto dealer, and Visionary Racing, which is the nom de course for trainer/breeder Kristin Mulhall.