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Del Mar Opening Day Live Coverage: July 21, 2023 | Racing Dudes After Dark

Del Mar Opening Day Live Coverage: July 21, 2023 | Racing Dudes After Dark

Racing Dudes After Dark is LIVE covering the Opening Day card from Del Mar on July 21, 2023! Top horse racing handicappers give their win picks & long shots. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section or join the fun in the Live Chat!

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The press release:

Fourteen 3-year-old turf runners will fill up the starting gate on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course Friday at Del Mar as the seaside oval kicks off its 84th summer season with its traditional Opening Day headliner, the Caesars Sportsbook Oceanside Stakes.

The Oceanside will be Race 8 on the 10-race opening program with a start time of approximately 5:30 p.m. After the Friday card, there will be racing both Saturday and Sunday. On all three days first post is 2 p.m.

The one-mile headliner is being offered for the 78th time for a $100,000 purse and as a stepping stone to the track’s two other grass features – the Grade III, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf on Sunday, August 6, then the grand prize of the Grade II, $300,000 Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby a nine furlongs on the lawn on Sunday, September 3.

A pair of well-bred sophs with several wins under their belts already figure to draw strong action in the contentious lineup – Michael House’s Classical Cat and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s Escape Artist.

The former is a son of Mendelssohn who comes into the race off a tally in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita back on December 30. He’s trained well for conditioner Phil D’Amato since and will be handled by the clever grass rider Umberto Rispoli out of the No. 1 post Friday.

Escape Artist was a smart winner of an allowance heat at Santa Anita on June 11 under Kent Desormeaux and he’ll have the Hall of Fame rider up again Friday. Mike McCarthy trains the bay son of the Curlin sire Good Magic and his charge will start his run from Post 10.

Here’s the field from the rail out with jockeys:

  1. Classical Cat (Umberto Rispoli, 4-1)
  2. Mas Rapido (Edwin Maldonado, 20-1)
  3. Zalamo (Mike Smith, 8-1)
  4. El Oro (Kyle Frey, 30-1)
  5. Ah Jeez (Tiago Pereira, 30-1)
  6. Mr Fisk (Joe Bravo, 8-1)
  7. Agency (Abel Cedillo, 15-1)
  8. Kid Azteca (Ramon Vasquez, 12-1)
  9. Conclude (Hector Berrios, 6-1)
  10. Escape Artist (Kent Desormeaux, 7-2)
  11. Panic Alarm (Assael Espinoza, 5-1)
  12. Ever A Rebel (Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1)
  13. Game Time (Armando Ayuso, 8-1)
  14. Ze’bul (Diego Herrera, 30-1)