ARCADIA, Calif. (July 2, 2016)—In the best race of his career, Dalmore, who is trained by Keith Desormeaux and was ridden by his brother, Kent, engaged heavily favored Danzing Candy a quarter mile from home and proved best by a half length in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita. With longshot Beaumarchais and Danzing Candy carving out fast early fractions, Dalmore sat a comfortable third, about three lengths off the lead with three furlongs to run and he stopped the clock after a mile and a sixteenth in a rapid 1:40.84.
“It’s been a nice three-race series here with this horse,” said Keith Desormeaux. “Each race, he’s had a perfect trip. I think that’s attributed not only to Kent’s prowess but also the fact that he’s had small fields and it’s always ended up a decent pace. Although, in the two previous races, the pace was slower and today it was quick, so good job by Kent judging the pace today.”
A Florida-bred colt by Colonel John, Dalmore was purchased for a bargain $47,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 2014 and is owned by Big Chief Racing, LLC, Rocker O Ranch, LLC and Keith Desormeaux. Dalmore, who came off a first condition allowance win here on May 29, was off at 7-2 and paid $9.20, $2.60 and $2.10.
Eased three starts back in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on April 9, Dalmore was subsequently a well beaten fifth in the 1 1/16 miles California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos two starts back on April 30.
“The most impressive part (of today’s race) was that half mile move to the quarter pole,” said Kent. “That was all him, I never asked him. I hadn’t even used my horse yet and Rafael (Bejarano, aboard Danzing Candy) was driving. To me, I knew we had him. It was a very explosive effort by Dalmore.”
With three wins and as many seconds from 11 overall starts, Dalmore picked up $60,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $187,302.
Unraced since beaten 20 lengths in the Kentucky Derby May 7, Danzing Candy made his first start today for Bob Baffert and he appeared every bit a 1-5 favorite as the race unfolded. As Baffert had hoped, he relaxed well under new pilot Bejarano and seemed comfortable sitting a close second behind Beaumarchais before taking the lead five sixteenths from home.
“Well, he was rating pretty good, but Beaumarchais was just going so fast,” said Baffert. “When I saw that second quarter in 46, I thought ‘Oh man…’ Dalmore is a good horse.”
Off at 1-5 in a field of five sophomores, Danzing Candy, who finished 8 ½ lengths clear of Prince of Arabia, paid $2.10 and $2.10.
Ridden by Santiago Gonzalez and off at 13-1, Prince of Arabia picked up a tiring Beaumarchais the final sixteenth and paid $2.40 to show while finishing 4 ¼ lengths clear of the pacesetter.
Fractions on the race were 23.26, 46 flat, 1:10.02 and 1:34.52.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita is at 1:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.
KENT DESORMEAUX, DALMORE, WINNER: “He drifts a little bit down the straight. I was checking my rearview mirror. He took me down towards the rail, but he was driving at that point. The most impressive part was that half-mile move to the quarter pole. That was all him, I never asked him. I hadn’t even used my horse yet and Rafael was driving. To me, I knew we had (Danzing Candy). It was a very explosive effort by Dalmore.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, DANZING CANDY, RUNNER-UP: “He didn’t mind sitting in behind the speed, he just relaxed. When Dalmore came up our outside, that’s when I moved. I tried to get the jump on him. He relaxed well though.”
KEITH DESORMEAUX, DALMORE, WINNER: “I thought he merited a chance today and he proved me right.
“It’s been a nice three race series here with this horse. Each race (that he’s won), he’s had a perfect trip. I think that’s attributed not only to Kent’s prowess but also the fact that he’s had small fields and it’s always ended up a decent pace. Although, in the two previous races the pace was slower and today was quick, so good job by Kent judging the pace today.
“Knowing Baffert like I do, he’s always going to be on the lead. The surprise was Beaumarchais. It looks like I may have paid Simon Callaghan on the side to make sure the pace was legitimate. It was nice to see 46 flat. That had to help us.
“It’s obvious (that home court advantage is imperative with this horse). All three of his wins, all at Santa Anita. We’re a half mile from his stall and I think that makes a significant difference. I just have to keep in mind that if we go out of town to get him there earlier, maybe two weeks before.
“He got into a dog fight with Danzing Candy. It’s not like he drew away. Danzing Candy ran a helluva race.”
BOB BAFFERT, DANZING CANDY, RUNNER-UP: “Well, he was rating pretty good, but Beaumarchais was just going so fast. When I saw that second quarter in 46, I thought ‘Oh man.’ Dalmore is a good horse.”
Santa Anita Park