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Edited Press Staff Release — Fourteen 3-year-old turf runners will fill up the starting gate on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course Friday at Del Mar as the seaside oval kicks off its 84th summer season with its traditional Opening Day headliner, the Caesars Sportsbook Oceanside Stakes.

The one-mile headliner is being offered for the 78th time for a $100,000 purse and as a stepping stone to the track’s two other grass features – the Grade III, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf on Sunday, August 6, then the grand prize of the Grade II, $300,000 Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby a nine furlongs on the lawn on Sunday, September 3.

A pair of well-bred sophs with several wins under their belts already figure to draw strong action in the contentious lineup – Michael House’s Classical Cat and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s Escape Artist.

The former is a son of Mendelssohn who comes into the race off a tally in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita back on December 30. He’s trained well for conditioner Phil D’Amato since and will be handled by the clever grass rider Umberto Rispoli out of the No. 1 post Friday. Escape Artist was a smart winner of an allowance heat at Santa Anita on June 11 under Kent Desormeaux and he’ll have the Hall of Fame rider up again Friday. Mike McCarthy trains the bay son of the Curlin sire Good Magic and his charge will start his run from Post 10.

Here’s the full field for the stakes in post position order with riders:

Classical Cat; Schroder Farms’ Mas Rapido (Edwin Maldonado); Madaket Stables, et al’s Zalamo (Mike Smith); Rockingham Ranch or Bernsen’s El Oro (Kyle Frey); Great Friends Stables or Davis’ Ah Jeez (Tiago Periera); Sunny Brook Stables’ Mr Fisk (Joe Bravo); Muir Hut Stables’ Agency (Abel Cedillo); CYBT, Nentwig or Pell’s Kid Azteca (Ramon Vazquez); Little Red Feather Racing, et al’s Conclude (Hector Berrios); Escape Artist; Hroni Racing’s Panic Alarm (Assael Espinoza); Rockingham Ranch, et al’s Ever a Rebel (Drayden Van Dyke); Hronis Racing’s Game Time (Armando Ayuso), and Drakos Or Hanson’s Ze’bul (Diego Herrera).

The Oceanside will be Race 8 on the 10-race opening program with a start time of approximately 5:30 p.m. After the Friday card, there will be racing both Saturday and Sunday. On all three days first post is 2 p.m.

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