DEL MAR, CA – Returning to the scene of his first major victory, last summer’s closing-day Del Mar Juvenile Turf, Bowies Hero won the $117,900 Oceanside Stakes Wednesday on the first day of the 2017 Del Mar racing season.
With Tiago Pereira in the saddle, Bowies Hero sliced between horses at the top of the stretch to secure running room, wore down 21-1 longshot Pioneer Lad in the final 1/16, and won clear by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:36.01 for the mile on the infield grass course.
“I was there with a lot of horse all the way around,” said Pereira. “I had a big hold; he was strong. (Pioneer Lad) made that run, but my horse went to him, then went right on by. He was very strong. And he’ll run on.”
Pioneer Lad, with Tyler Baze up, held on well in the stretch to be another 1 1/2 lengths in front of Caribou Club, who nosed out Grecian Fire for third place.
“This was his first time on grass,” said Baze. “It was also the first time he was asked to run through a hole. He did both well. A good race for him. He’s learning. He’s just going to get better.”
Bird Is the Word, Rockin Rudy, Arms Runner (the 8-5 favorite), Vending Machine, Fortune of War, Allaboutmike, My Man Chuckles, Lucky Bode, and Harbour Master completed the order of finish. Placido, Monster Man, and Reign On were scratched.
Bowies Hero, a son of Artie Schiller owned by the partnership of Agave Racing and Hebert Bloodstock and trained by Phil D’Amato, was scoring his fourth triumph in seven starts.
“Tiago said we were lucky to get through right in front of the 5/16 marker,” said D’Amato. “He let him run through the stretch and said he had a ton of horse on the gallop-out. We’ll just play it by ear and see if we’ll just sit and wait for the Del Mar Derby or roll into the La Jolla. He loves this track; he got his first win for me on this track. The weather’s cooler here at Del Mar, and he just thrives in it.”
First-place money of $70,740 increased the 3-year-old colt’s total earnings to $201,325. He previously won the Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita in early May. The final time was 1:36.01.
Flavien Prat and Rafael Bejarano, who deadheated for the Del Mar riding title with 38 winners last summer, picked up where they left off, with each winning three races prior to the Oceanside. Prat accounted for races one, three, and four, while Bejarano had a consecutive triple, sweeping the fifth, sixth, and seventh. Bejarano made it four for the afternoon by winning the tenth and final race.
Bowies Hero returned $8.80, $4.80, and $3.40. Pioneer Lad brought back $14 and $9.40, while Caribou Club paid $9.60 to show.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club