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DEL MAR, CA – Two graded grass stakes – both at a mile and 1/8 out of the track’s unique angled infield chute – top an 11-race card scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Del Mar: the $250,000 Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby (G2) and the $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (G2).
The Saturday program will have a first post a half-hour earlier than normal – 1:30 instead of 2 PM – and that will be the case also with Sunday’s and Monday’s cards during the Labor Day weekend. The Mabee, which is race 9 on the Saturday card, will go off at approximately 5:30 and the Derby will be the day’s nitecap run at approximately 6:30.
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The Derby drew 14 runners and is for 3-year-olds as the culminating event in the track’s turf triple for sophomores, having been preceded by the Runhappy Oceanside Stakes and the La Jolla Stakes (G3).
The first three finishers in both of those “prep” races are back to give it a go in this 77th edition of the Derby, which makes for a delicious mix. And the fact that Del Mar’s morning line maker, Jon White, has made his favorite a very tepid 9/2 tells you that the race looms wide open with a thrilling finish likely to decide the winner.
The Mabee drew nine fillies and mares for its 64th running and it, too, appears to be the kind of race where contention runs deep. LNJ Foxwoods’ Dogtag has been made a slight 3/1 favorite over Slam Dunk Racing, Stable Currency and Branham’s Maxim Rate at 7/2.
Here are the fields for the two features from the rail out with riders and morning line odds:
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