(Conclude after winning the 78th running of the Del Mar Derby / Benoit Photo & Courtesy of the Del Mar Turf Club)
From the Del Mar Turf Club Media Team:
The chestnut 3-year-old colt Conclude, owned by the partnership of Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables or Bret Jones, hung tough late to tally by a head Sunday at Del Mar in the 78th edition of the Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby.
Hector Berrios gave the son of Collected a well-timed ride and finished the nine furlongs on turf in 1:48.61. Trainer Phil D’Amato saddled the winner who earned a first prize of $180,000 from the gross purse of $302,000 in the Grade II headliner for sophomores. The race is considered the championship event for 3-year-old males during the Del Mar meeting.
Finishing second was Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal’s Maltese Falcon, who closed stoutly through the lane to just miss. He was a length ahead of CYBT, McLean Racing Stables, Gevertz, Nentwig and Pagano’s Almendares.
Conclude, who had won the Opening Day Caesars Sportsbook Oceanside Stakes, won his third straight race and fourth overall and increased his bankroll to $359,600. He paid $4.20 to win as the 11-10 race favorite.
Earlier on the card, a racing rarity occurred when trainer Bob Baffert’s two horses in the Shared Belief Stakes dead-heated for the victory.
Pegram/Watson/Weitman’s Tahoe Sunrise and Sunny Brook Stables’ Mr Fisk finished exactly even on the wire and both were awarded the victory in the $125,500 stakes for 3-year-olds. They ran the mile on dirt in 1:37.33 with Victor Espinoza up on Tahoe Sunrise and Juan Hernandez aboard Mr Fisk.
The winning horses each received $50,000 as their shares of the purse.
Finishing third, eight lengths farther back, was C R K Stable’s Smart Mo.
Tahoe Sunrise paid $3.00 for the win. Mr Fisk returned $2.80.
Baffert previously had been involved in a dead-heat stakes victory in the De Anza Stakes at Del Mar in 1992 when his horse Wheelers Oil tied with Boss Soss, trained by Jack Haynes.
Racing will resume at Del Mar on Labor Day Monday with a first post at 1:30 p.m.
HECTOR BERRIOS (Conclude, winner) – “I had a good trip, all the way. He was relaxed and that’s the best. Then when we turned for home, I said ‘Vamoose!’ And he really took off from there.”
PHIL D’AMATO (Conclude, winner) – “A masterful ride by Hector (Berrios), letting that other horse go and then making that move at the three-quarter pole to get him comfortable on the lead. He’s tough horse. The mile and an eighth is where he wants to be at. Anywhere in that mile to mile and an eighth range he’s going to be a top class horse down the road.”
FRACTIONS: :23.91 :47.40 1:12.20 1:36.68 1:48.61
The stakes win was the fifth of the session for rider Berrios and the sixth for trainer D’Amato.
Rider Berrios was winning his first Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby and his ninth overall stakes at Del Mar.
Trainer D’Amato was winning his second Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby (Midnight Storm, 2014) and his 50th overall stakes at Del Mar.
The winning owners are Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables or Bret Jones.