The always highly-anticipated summer season of quality Thoroughbred racing at Del Mar kicks off Wednesday with a full field of 14 three-year-olds scheduled to compete in the $100,000 added Oceanside Stakes at one mile over the infield Jimmy Durante grass course.
The first of 36 days of racing during Del Mar’s 78th meeting through Labor Day Monday, September 4 will present ten races starting at 2 p.m. Six nationally-significant Grade I stakes are among 41 added money events on the $7.3 million summer schedule, highlighted by the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Saturday, August 19.
Racing history will be made when Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosts its first Breeders’ Cup, Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4, spotlighting many of the world’s greatest horses in 13 Grade I races with purses and awards of more than $28 million.
Carrying top weight of 124 pounds according to allowance conditions in the Oceanside will be Bowies Hero, winner of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf last September and victorious in the Singletary on the grass in May at Santa Anita. In his last race, he was fourth behind Oscar Performance in the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park. Tiago Pereira has the call from trainer Phil D’Amato.
In at 122 pounds are Vending Machine, a stakes-winner who will have Rafael Bejarano aboard; Grecian Fire, a stakes-winner at Golden Gate Fields to be piloted by Joe Talamo, and stakes-placed Monster Man, with Santiago Gonzalez to ride.
Others in the line-up in what shapes up as a wide-open renewal of the Oceanside are unbeaten Arms Runner, 120 and Norberto Arroyo, Jr.; Caribou Club, also 120 with Drayden Van Dyke. Packing 118 pounds will be Bird is the Word, Gary Stevens; Pioneer Lad, Tyler Baze; Rockin Rudy, Mario Gutierrez; Allaboutmike, Edwin Maldonado; Lucky Bode, William Antongeorgi; Placido, Flavien Prat; Fortune of War, Corey Nakatani, and My Man Chuckles, Kyle Frey. On the also eligible list are Reign On, Evin Roman, Harbour Master, Victor Espinoza, both weighted at 118.
Photo courtesy Del Mar Publicity Department/Benoit Photo