Barn Notes: For Del Mar

(Accelerate tuning up for the Pacific Classic / Photo Courtesy of Del Mar)

From the Media Team at Del Mar:


John Sadler-trained Accelerate, the likely morning line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic and race-nominated The Lieutenant and Unique Bella logged final works Sunday for the signature event of the Del Mar summer season.

With assistant trainer Juan Leyva up, the 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky was timed in 1:26.00 for seven furlongs after covering the first six in 1:14.00 by the track’s crew of clockers.

“Very good work, no problems under some pretty severe conditions,” Sadler said. “The track’s very heavy and there’s a lot of humidity, but he handled it well like a good horse.”

Sadler also has San Diego Handicap winner Catalina Cruiser nominated and fit for the race, but has expressed the desire to keep them separate. Both are owned by Hronis Racing LLC.

Accelerate, the reigning Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup at Santa Anita champion, has been designated as the Pacific Classic representative.

“That’s the plan as of now,” Sadler said.

Mike McCarthy-trained The Lieutenant, most recently second to Diversify in last month’s Grade II Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, went five furlongs in company with stablemate Paved, a nominee to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Pacific Classic Day.

Drayden Van Dyke, who has the call on both, was aboard Paved. Exercise rider Norman Rodriguez was up on The Lieutenant. Track clockers had The Lieutenant going five furlongs in 1:01.60. McCarthy had the pair going the final quarter in :24.60.

“Very pleased with both,” McCarthy said. “The Lieutenant was well in hand and Paved was well within herself. It was a nice maintenance work and I’m pleased with the way both of them are coming up to their  races next weekend.”

Unique Bella cruised four furlongs in :51.40 under exercise rider Freddie Rodriguez. “A nice work,” said Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, but not one that will have any influence on the decision whether to test the champion filly against males for the first time.

Hollendorfer, among other trainers, is expected to delay a decision until close to the entry deadline of 10 a.m. Tuesday. With the field set, post positions will be drawn at a party starting at 3:30 that afternoon at The Brigantine restaurant overlooking the track.

The racing office lists “probables” Accelerate, Beach View, Mubtaahij, Pavel, Prime Attraction, The Lieutenant and Roman Rosso. “Possibles” are: Ann Arbor Eddie, Catalina Cruiser and Dr. Dorr. Nominees considered “doubtful” are: El Huerfano, Full of Luck, Multiplier, Two Thirty Five and Unique Bella.

The Pacific Classic is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Churchill Downs.


The racing office lists 10 probables for next Saturday’s $250,000 Del Mar Handicap sponsored by the Japan Racing Association. In addition to the $150,000 winner’s share of the purse, the race is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in November at Churchill Downs.

Expected to be entered Wednesday for the 79th running of the event are: Ashleyluvssugar, Camino del Paraiso, Cashman, Fashion Business, Itsinthepost, Kenjistorm, Multiplier, Unapologetic, Whoop Whoop and Ya Gotta Wanna.

Three of the group are coming out of the Grade II $250,000 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read on July 22 and stretching out to the 1 3/8 miles of the Handicap. Multiplier was fifth in the Read, Fashion Business eighth and Itsinthepost ninth. Itsinthepost was second, beaten three-quarters of a length by Hunt, in the 2017 Handicap.


Ike Walker is a 6-year-old gelded son of Bellamy Road who has made 42 lifetime starts, earned $429,820 and has been claimed away, or claimed back, seven times over five racing seasons.

Often the claims were made at Del Mar or in the months leading to Del Mar because there’s apparently something about Del Mar that Ike likes.

The neck victory that Ike Walker produced in Thursday’s fourth race – coming back under Assael Espinoza after falling a length or more behind in the stretch – was the fifth in seven starts here, which accounts for $136,450 of his career earnings.

In both 2016 and 2017, he notched victories in both the summer and fall meetings and now he’s added a summer win for 2018.

“He’s a neat horse to be around,” said Dan Ward, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “That (Thursday win) just shows how he likes Del Mar and the kind of heart he has.”

Originally trained by Michael Stidham, the horse was claimed back-to-back from $16,000 races at Del Mar in 2015 by trainers Vann Belvoir and Doug O’Neill. The price was $50,000 when Hollendorfer secured Ike Walker in July of 2016.

Things heated up starting in February when Ike Walker went from the stables of Hollendorfer to Peter Miller and back twice – each time for $40,000, with Hollendorfer making the last grab on June 23.

“We weren’t the only ones,” Ward said. It boiled down to a “shake,” – a lottery when more than one claim is put in, because, as Ward said: “Everybody knows this horse loves Del Mar.”

CLOSERS – Battle of Midway, back in training after an unsuccessful career at stud, worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 under Flavien Prat. The Harry F. Brubaker Stakes, at one mile on August 22, is a possible return race … Trainer Leonard Powell has named Rafael Bejarano to ride Beach View in the Pacific Classic while Jim Cassidy has given the call to Kent Desormeaux on Prime Attraction … Selected works from 239 officially timed – 208 on dirt, 31 on turf – Sunday. Dirt: Great Expectations (4f, :36.80), Show It N Moe It (4f, :36.20), Policy (4f, :47.20), Soi Phet (4f, :48.40), Unique Bella (4f, :51.60), B Squared (5f, 1:01.60), Colonist (5f, 1:01.40), McKinzie (5f, 1:01.40), Multiplier (5f, 1:01.60), Paved (5f, 1:01.60), Sharp Samurai (5f, 1:01.80), The Lieutenant (5f, 1:01.60),  Dream Tree (6f, 1:12.40), Hunt (6f, 1:14.40) and Accelerate (7f, 1:26.00); Turf: El Huerfano (4f, :51.20), Pee Wee Reese (4f, :48.40), River Boyne (4f, :51.60), Big Score (5f, 1:00.60), Catapult (5f, 1:00.20), Itsinthepost (5f, 1:02.00), Om (5f,  1:00.80), Offshore (6f, 1:14.60), Responsibleforlove (6f, 1:15.00), Toinette (6f, 1:14.60… Instagrand, impressive winner of Saturday’s Best Pal Stakes came out of the race with plenty of energy. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer: “He’ll be facing tougher and tougher competition down the line and we’ll see how far we can go, but he looks good right now. We’ll look at the Futurity for him, for sure.”


Jockey Standings

(Current Through Saturday, August 11, 2018 Inclusive)

JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%In-money%Money Won
Flavien Prat762013526%50%$1,277,355
Drayden Van Dyke65175826%46%$1,160,055
Tyler Baze9216101117%40%$872,234
Assael Espinoza97129912%31%$473,620
Heriberto Figueroa63127519%38%$329,945
Geovanni Franco771071613%43%$482,377
Mario Gutierrez58810614%41%$476,175
Rafael Bejarano75710119%37%$514,780
Tiago Pereira6176911%36%$341,747
Gary Stevens4669613%46%$512,175


Trainer Standings

(Current Through Saturday, August 11, 2018 Inclusive)

TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%In-money%Money Won
Peter Miller60189630%55%$819,375
Doug F. O’Neill8112131115%44%$634,840
Jerry Hollendorfer49128324%47%$736,629
Philip D’Amato5777612%35%$604,038
Jeff Mullins2763122%37%$276,605
John W. Sadler3562317%31%$519,814
Richard Baltas545699%37%$374,700
Bob Baffert2156324%67%$327,815
Brian J. Koriner2152124%38%$268,220
William E. Morey1851228%44%$204,355


Winning Favorites Report

(Current Through Saturday, August 11, 2018 Inclusive)

Winning favorites — 58 out of 165 — 35.15%

Winning favorites on dirt — 44 out of 102 — 43.14%

Winning favorites on turf — 14 out of 63 — 22.22%

Winning odds-on favorites — 17 out of 25 — 68.00%

In-the-Money favorites — 116 out of 165 — 70.30%

In-the-Money odds-on favorites — 24 out of 25 — 96.00%

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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