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Aaron previews the 2022 Let It Ride Stakes at Del Mar, then gives his top picks and long shots. The fall meet kicks off with a solid field of 9 in the Opening Day turf feature – who comes out on top? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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Nine frisky sophomores will pull on their running shoes Friday at Del Mar for a one-mile spin around the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in the featured attraction – the $75,000-added Let It Ride Stakes – on the opening day program for the ninth fall racing season at the seaside course.
The four-week racing stand, fondly known as the “Bing Crosby Season” in honor of the track’s iconic founder, will cover a total of 13 racing days with a primary MO of Friday, Saturday and Sunday sport starting at 12:30 in the afternoon. The lone exception to that arrangement is a Thanksgiving Thursday (November 24) card that starts at 11 a.m. and finishes up around 3 p.m., allowing time enough for fans to make it back home before the turkey gets cold.
Possible favorite for Friday’s overnight feature could be CYBT, Lantzman or Nentwig, et al’s Handy Dandy, a hard-trying son of the Florida stallion Fury Kapcori who has been there or thereabouts in his last 10 races. The gelding has a solid stretch kick and has put it to good use for in-the-money finishes in all of those 10 outings, amassing a bankroll of more than $216,000 in the process. He was last out in the Twilight Derby at Santa Anita less than two weeks ago where he ran into a world of trouble, yet still managed to get beaten just a little over two lengths in the Grade II stakes.
Del Mar training kingpin Peter Miller saddles Handy Dandy and he’ll give a leg up Friday to Juan Hernandez, the shore track’s runaway riding champ from this past summer season.
Here’s the full field for the Let It Ride, which goes as race seven on the eight-race program: C R K Stable’s Clutch Hitter (Victor Espinoza in the irons); Handy Dandy; California Racing Partners, John Ford Racing, et al’s Law Abiding (Mario Gutierrez); Patrick Brogan’s Crazy Dreams (Abel Cedillo); Stone Farm’s Script (John Velazquez); Alice Bamford’s St Anthony (Flavien Prat); Bernsen or Weijland’s Time To Party (Joe Bravo); Muir Hut Stales’ Spycatcher (Ryan Curatolo), and Godolphin’s Degree of Risk (Drayden Van Dyke).
Script is an interesting addition to the field. The homebred colt by Algorithms comes into the heat off an allowance tally at Keeneland last month at a mile on the lawn. He’s conditioned by the highly respected H. Graham Motion and the fact that Hall of Famer Velazquez is named on board works in his favor also.
The lightly raced Spycatcher was a good second at 68-1 in the Del Mar Derby to Slow Down Andy locally on September 3 in his most recent try. This will be only his fifth start but the colt by Noble Mission – who is still a maiden – deserves some respect in this lineup.
St Anthony is a double stakes winner in Northern California and takes his lesson from Hall of Fame conditioner Neil Drysdale.
The Let It Ride is one of four turf races on the Friday program.
Reddam Racing’s Team Merchants won the 2021 version of the Let It Ride.
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