(Digital Age after winning at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Del Mar Media Team:
Featuring the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby as the headliner of a ten-race program Saturday, Del Mar will present a bonanza of stakes events on the final weekend of the 2019 fall Bing Crosby season.
In addition to the Hollywood Derby which attracted 13 three-year-olds competing at nine furlongs on the infield grass course, three other stakes will be run, also on turf – the Grade III $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes for two-year-old fillies at one mile; the Grade III $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap at a mile and three-eighths for older fillies and mares, and the Grade II $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap for older Thoroughbreds at a mile and one-sixteenth.
Post time for the first race Saturday will be half-an-hour earlier than usual, at 12 noon. The meeting is scheduled to conclude Sunday, the closing-day card topped by the Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes for older fillies and mares. Post time Sunday also will be 12 noon for the first of ten races.
The Hollywood Derby lured a quartet of highly-regarded invaders from the East Coast to take on the locally-based sophomores – the Chad Brown-trained duo of Irish-bred Digital Age and Standard Deviation, plus the Mark Casse-conditioned Uncle Bull and Mr Dumas from the barn of trainer John Ortiz.
Much-improved Mo Forza, an 18-1 upset winner of the Twilight Derby a month ago at Santa Anita, will be seeking to prove that triumph was no fluke. Six sophomores who chased him home that afternoon are also entered Saturday – Succeedandsurpass, second; Neptune’s Storm, third; Henley’s Joy, fourth; Kingly, fifth; Originaire, seventh and Nolde, eleventh. Completing the Derby line-up are Proud Pedro and Moody Jim.
Morning line-maker Russ Hudak made Neptune’s Storm the lukewarm 9-2 favorite in a wide-open Hollywood Derby, followed by Mo Forza at 5-1.
In the Jimmy Durante Stakes, Hudak pegged Princess Caroline as the early choice at 7-2, while Siberian Iris is 5-2 on the Red Carpet line and Sacred Life is also at 5-2 as the favorite in the Seabiscuit Handicap.