Solid Wager, a 9-1 outsider in the betting, rallied from last place turning into the stretch under powerful urging from jockey Joe Talamo to win the featured $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes Sunday at Del Mar.
Last of seven horses with less than a quarter-mile remaining in the seven-furlong dash on the main track, Solid Wager closed strongly in the center of the track and got up in the final strides to shade 13-1 longshot Raised a Secret by a half-length in 1:22.23 for the distance.
Got Even, another longshot at 18-1, was third, another half-length behind the runner-up and a length in front of Forest Chatter.
The big disappointment in the race was defending champion Big Macher, sent postward at 2-5 but the seventh and last-place finisher under jockey Rafael Bejarano. Withdrawn from the original field were Avanti Bello, Red Outlaw, Old Man Lake and Richard’s Boy.
Talamo, a newly-wed who was married Friday, inherited the mount on Solid Wager when Victor Espinoza, originally named on the four-year-old gelding, called in ill Sunday and was excused from his lone mount on the program.
Solid Wager, a son of Birdonthewire trained by Peter Miller, was scoring his sixth victory in 24 starts and returned $20, $6.60 and $4.60. First money of $57,000 increased his earnings total to $303,606 for owners Gary and Cecil Barber and the Stanford Stable of Sandra Ann Tsujihara, Michael J. De Anda and Lawrence Sai Kit Miao.
There were no perfect tickets in Sunday’s Pick Six so Thursday’s Thanksiving holiday program will feature a carryover of $102,968 for the card which begins at 11 a.m.
JOE TALAMO (Solid Wager, winner) — “Well, isn’t this sweet. Nice way to end the week. (He was married Friday night.) He’s a nice horse and he was a runner today. Peter (trainer Peter Miller) didn’t give me any special instructions. He just said ride him. He said he’ll lay back and to keep him clear. He was way back, but they were going fast enough up there. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done this before (picked up the mount on a stakes winner when rider Victor Espinoza took off him this morning). But I’m sure glad I did.”
FERNANDO PEREZ (Raised a Secret, second) — “Good race for him. But he spooked a little at the quarter pole. He saw something and he spooked.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Big Macher, seventh) — “No excuses for him. He was in perfect position. But it just wasn’t there.”
PETER MILLER (Solid Wager, winner) — “Wow, I guess I scratched the right two. Got Even (third) was a little slow to get going, I would have liked to have seen him on a clear lead by himself. But the pace was moderate for these kinds of horses. Solid Wager was within striking range so I felt pretty good. About the quarter pole I could see that Got Even was getting a little tired, but I could also see that Solid Wager was making his move. He’s a grinder. I knew it was going to be close, but he got up there. I’m very happy for the owners group and everyone involved.”
FRACTIONS: :22.51 :44.83 1:09.25 1:22.23
This is the second time the Cary Grant has been run at Del Mar. Previously, it has been run as the On Trust Stakes 30 times at Hollywood Park.
This is the second stakes winner of the meet for rider Talamo and his 41st overall at Del Mar.
This is the first stakes winner of the meet for trainer Miller and his 13th overall at Del Mar. Miller had originally entered four horses in the race, but scratched two (Red Outlaw and Richard’s Boy).
The winner is owned by brothers Cecil and Gary Barber of Sherman Oaks (Cecil) and Los Angeles (Gary). Other owners are the partnership called Stanford Stable, consisting of Sandra Ann Tsujihara, Michael Joseph De Anda and Laurence Sai Kit Miao.
Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club