DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Mark Glatt’s Collusion Illusion rallied wide in the stretch and took over late to win a no-fake edition of Saturday’s $200,000 Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.

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Breaking from post 5 under Joe Talamo at 7/1 odds, Collusion Illusion settled comfortably just behind four foes each keen on the lead. Thanks Mr. Eidson raced along the outside of Raging Whiskey as they headed into the far turn through an opening 1/4-mile in :22.13.

Ranging up wide around the runners ahead of him, Collusion Illusion was put to a drive at the top of the stretch. Slowly and steadily, Collusion Illusion grinded his way past his competition to win the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track in a final time of 1:11.34.

Credit: Ernie Belmonte

“I had the beautiful trip, and the speed set it up right,” Talamo said. “I was impressed with my horse, the way he gutted it out down the lane, and I think the farther, the better with him. Wait ‘til he goes 7/8 (of a mile) or two turns; then you’re going to see the best of him.”

A step after breaking from the rail, Wrecking Crew broke inward and lost considerable early ground but was able to rally late to neck out the 4/5 favorite Fore Left for second. Thanks Mr. Eidson faded to fourth ahead of We’re Still Here, while Raging Whiskey faded to sixth complete the order of finish.

The 2/1 morning line favorite Schrodinger was a morning-of scratch after it was discovered that he had spiked a fever.

Collusion Illusion’s win was his second in as many career starts, having won his debut here going 5 furlongs on July 21. The 2-year-old son of Twirling Candy has now earned $156,600 for co-owners Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider, and John Xitco.

“He’s been nothing but a pro from Day One since we got him after the sale,” said Glatt, who signed the $300,000 ticket as agent for the owners. “He was probably ready earlier than the race he actually debuted in, but we decided to wait for Del Mar and we’re extremely pleased with him. This race came up a little bit quick; I usually like to give a horse more time after his debut, but he’s such a classy horse and he never missed a bite of grain.”

Oftentimes, the Best Pal winner points next to the Del Mar Futurity Stakes (G1), traditionally held on the meet’s closing day, Labor Day. Glatt, however, was not ready to commit his star pupil to another sub-30 day turnaround just yet.

“I thought about running him back in the Futurity but who knows what will happen between now and September,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule out the Futurity. That might be a little too aggressive with him, but we’ll keep it as an option.”

Collusion Illusion returned $ to win, $ to place, and $ to show. Place brought back $ to place and $ to show, while Show paid $ to show.