From the Del Mar Turf Club Media Team:
TREVOR DENMAN AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS LAFFIT PINCAY, JR. AWARD
Del Mar track announcer Trevor Denman has been named this year’s recipient of the Laffit Pincay, Jr. Award, given annually to those who have served the sport with “integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction.”
A fan favorite since he first came to the U.S. in 1983 and began calling races at Santa Anita, Trevor is also admired and respected by everyone in the racing industry. That’s why it is so fitting for him to be recognized with this award.
“I’m very honored,” Denman says. “You run your eyes down all of the past winners and you’re breathing some regal air up there. I’m very, very pleased.”
On Saturday, August 19 Trevor will be awarded the Pincay Award at a trackside ceremony in the winners circle. Laffit Pincay, Jr. will make the presentation. That’s when Trevor will join a special list of horse racing luminaries like Art Sherman, Chris McCarron, John Harris, Julie Krone, Noble Threewitt, Martine Bellocq, and last year’s winner, Ron McAnally.
“I’ve always been in racing,” Denman says. “From the time I was 5-years-old. You aspire to many things and for an announcer, this is big. It’s up there.”
Trevor has always brought a unique style to every call, with catch phrases that have become immortalized in racing history. “And away they go” spoken at the start of every race. “Scraping the paint” used to describe a horse rallying up the rail. “They would need to sprout wings” for when a horse is so far out in front, the rest of the field has no chance. “Moving like a winner…” or how about “looks like he jumped in at the quarter pole”…all signature calls that Trevor has introduced to the racing public.
It all started in his native South Africa, where he mastered his craft. But it wasn’t easy.
“We did not hear any race callers from foreign countries in those days,” he says. “We did not have television and radio was limited. However, an Australian named Bill Collins came to South Africa to call races and I did learn from him.”
Denman came to California in late 1983 and called a race at Golden Gate Fields. Soon thereafter he was hired by Santa Anita. When word got out about this race caller who abandoned the customary staccato delivery of most broadcasters and actually did concise analyst of what was taking place out on the racetrack, his popularity soared and soon Trevor was calling all of the races in Southern California, including Del Mar and Hollywood Park.
From 1984 to 2015, Denman was the voice of southern California racing. At times he would venture out into the national spotlight. That’s where we got Denman’s call of Zenyatta’s captivating victory over the boys in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic as she ran down the competition and approached the wire.
“This is un-be-liev-able”
That could very well have been the reaction of a young aspiring Trevor Denman if told his career would develop into what it has become today.
“We had three racetracks in our city,” Denman recalls, “and I had my eyes set on them, certainly not Del Mar and Santa Anita. It’s like playing for the Minnesota Loons or the Manchester United.”
PACIFIC CLASSIC COUNTDOWN: HASKELL REMATCH LOOMS
T-minus 20-days and counting to the 33rd running of the $1-million, G1 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic and it’s beginning to look like a possible rematch between two talented 3-year olds.
Geaux Rocket Ride and Arabian Knight locked horns in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park last month. It was a coming out party of sorts for Geaux Rocket Ride, who put away the Kentucky Derby winner, Mage, in mid-stretch and stormed home much the best that day.
His trainer Richard Mandella mentioned at the time the Pacific Classic was a possible next spot for the son of Candy Ride but once he got back to Del Mar with him he began considering the $125,000 Shared Belief Stakes as an option instead. The Classic would be against older horses, the Shared Belief is restricted to 3-year-olds so it would allow ‘Rocket’ to stay with his own age group. In the end, Mandella went back to his initial intention to run in the Classic.
“We’re a little heavier on the million dollars,” Mandella says. “I have my price, you know.”
Geaux Rocket Ride worked 5-furlongs Friday at Del Mar in 1:01.40. (21/45).
Bob Baffert’s Arabian Knight faded to third in the Haskell after contesting a hot pace. The son of Uncle Mo was coming back from a five-month layoff and may have needed the race. He was the favorite in the Haskell off of his scintillating win in the G3 Southwest at Oaklawn in January.
Arabian Knight has worked twice since returning to the West Coast. His most recent was Friday, a 7-furlong move in 1:24.40.
Baffert is also pointing Defunded to the Classic. He finished fourth in the G2 San Diego last month, but prior to that Defunded won the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup and the G2 Californian. The son of Dialed In has been a staunch competitor in the handicap division all year.
Defunded worked 4-furlongs Monday in :49.20. (34/64).
Stilleto Boy is another horse being considered for this year’s Pacific Classic. Trainer Ed Moger, Jr.’s Santa Anita Handicap winner worked 5-furlongs Saturday at Del Mar and stopped the clock at :59.40, the fourth best time at the distance.
Rattle N Roll is on the list of ‘possibles’ for the Classic. He’s been running back east where he’s developed into a top class racehorse. The son of Connect won three consecutive Grade III races at Keeneland, Pimlico and Churchill Downs before coming up short and finishing second to West Will Power in the G1 Stephen Foster at Ellis Park last time out.
Trainer Kenny McPeek is also considering the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup for Rattle N Roll, run on the same day as the Classic. He worked four furlongs in :50.55 at Saratoga Saturday, (52/65).
Trainer Bob Hess, Jr. has nominated Order and Law to the Pacific Classic. The winner of the G3 Cougar II at Del Mar last month was running in claiming races just four months ago. But he ran second in an allowance race at Presque Isle Downs in June and then came out to Del Mar and won the mile and a half Cougar, giving Hess the confidence to take a shot.
Order and Law put in his first work since his victory in the Cougar II, going 4-furlongs in :50.20 at Del Mar on Tuesday, (14/17).
Finally, trainer Doug O’Neill is considering two for the Classic. Slow Down Andy finished second to Senor Buscador in the G2 San Diego and O’Neill believes the son of Nyquist belongs.
His other hopeful, Katonah, has developed an issue that may prevent him from running. When last seen, Katonah was winning the $75,000 Pleasanton Mile.
“He’s battling a bruised foot,” O’Neill says. “So we have to play it by ear.”
The G1 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic is the marquee race on a stakes filled card on Saturday, September 2 at Del Mar. First post is 1:30 p.m.
NOMINATIONS REVEAL EAST COAST INTEREST IN NEXT WEEK’S OAKS
The G1 Del Mar Oaks is shaping up to be a classic, West vs. East showdown. A total of 21 nominations were submitted for this year’s race, many from out of state.
Horses have been nominated by east coast trainers Chad Brown, Brad Cox and Graham Motion, who brought in last year’s Del Mar Oaks winner, Spendarella. This year he’s considering three horses for the race including Mission of Joy, winner of the G3 Regret at Churchill Downs in June.
Brown has nominated four horses: Liguria, winner of last year’s G3 Jimmy Durante during the Del Mar fall meet; Surge Capacity winner of the G3 Lake George at Saratoga last out; Prerequisite, runner-up to Aspen Grove in last month’s G1 Belmont Oaks and winner of the G2 Wonder Again at Belmont Park in June, and Aspray, winner of the $100,000 Hilltop on Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico.
These are nominations so chances are someone is staying home. Also on the list is Brad Cox’ Heavenly Sunday, winner of the G2 Edgewood at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day.
The local contingent for the Oaks is formidable. There’s the G2 San Clemente winner, Anisette, from the Leonard Powell barn; Glen Hill Farm’s Ocean Club, who was runner up to Anisette; Big Pond, winner of the Fleet Treat Stakes; And Tell Me Nolies, last year’s G1 Debutante winner, and Window Shopping from the Richard Mandella stable.
Entries for the Del Mar Oaks, run at mile and an eighth on the grass, will be drawn Wednesday.
There are two other stakes on the docket next week. The $100,000 CTT and TOC Stakes will be run on Friday. It’s a mile and three-eighths marathon on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. The 2021 winner, Neige Blanche, is expected back for a third straight year. Last year’s winner, Sister Otoole, also has been nominated to the race.
Queen of the Temple may give it a try as well. She won the $100,000 Santa Barbara at Santa Anita in April then missed by a neck to Neige Blanche in the $100,000 Possibly Perfect in June.
Del Mar’s leading trainer, Phil D’Amato, has nominated four horses for the CTT and TOC including Oakhurst, winner of a second-level allowance at Del Mar on opening weekend.
Capping the stakes action next week is Sunday’s 30th running of the $150,000 Solana Beach for Cal-bred fillies and mares. The one mile turf test had 13 nominations including Chismosa, runner up to Big Pond in the Fleet Treat last month.
There’s also Eddie’s New Dream, winner of the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine earlier this year at Santa Anita. She missed by a nose last out to Oakhurst in an allowance race at Del Mar. Rose Maddox, runner-up to Eddie’s New Dream in the Fran’s Valentine in May, is also under consideration.
Entries for the Solana Beach will be drawn Thursday.
COOLING OUT: Trainer O.J. Jauregui says Dreamfyre came out of her victory in the G3 Sorrento “real good.” He says they will let the horse tell them what to do next, but that the G1 Debutante at the end of the meet is under consideration…As for Closing Remarks, winner of the G2 Yellow Ribbon Saturday, trainer Carla Gaines says she’s doing very well this morning. She added “maybe” when asked about coming back in the G2 John C. Mabee on closing weekend…Del Mar’s leading jockey, Juan Hernandez, padded his lead in the jockey standings Saturday with a four-win day. He now leads Hector Berrios by four victories…A nice Del Mar debut for jockey J.G. Torrealba. The native of Venezuela, who has been riding at Thistledown in Ohio, registered his first victory ever at Del Mar on just his second mount, scoring on Bag’s Gold in the 10th race Saturday…Tickets for the Bing Crosby meet go on sale Tuesday. The meet begins Friday, November 10 and runs through Sunday, December 3…Notable works on Sunday: Dirt – American Theorem (4f, :49.20); Anarchist (4f, :47.60); Anisette (4f, 48.40); Cabo Spirit (4f, :47.00); Eda (4f, :47.60), and Slow Down Andy (4f, :48.40). Turf – Azul Coast (4f, :51.40); Balnikhov (4f, :50.80); Big Pond (4f, :51.40); Gold Phoenix (4f, :50.40); Hong Kong Harry (4f, :49.00); Macadamia (4f, :48.80); Conclude (5f, 1:02.00), and Exaulted (5f, 1:02.60). A total of 282 horses put in official works on Sunday, 242 on the dirt and 40 on the turf.