DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Luis Mendez earned his first career Grade 1 score as Dr. Schivel ran clear in Monday’s $250,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity.
Dr. Schivel was the 7/5 favorite as he broke from the far outside post 6 under Flavien Prat. He ranged up to challenge for the lead, running three-wide outside of Spielberg (on the rail) and Weston, while the other three runners stacked up similarly three-wide behind them through opening fractions of :22.49 and :45.14.
Weston gave way midway through the far turn, leaving Spielberg as Dr. Schivel’s remaining challenger. The bettors’ choice responded positively when asked, pulling ahead in the stretch before crossing 1 3/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:24.16 for the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint.
“He broke well, then he got a little aggressive on me,” said Prat, who ended the meet leading all jockeys with 50 wins, including 15 in stakes, a single-meet record. “I tried to give him a little breather on the turn, then when I asked him, he was a runner. He’s a nice colt.”
For the second straight race, Spielberg finished second behind Dr. Schivel; the duo previously knocked heads last time out in a maiden special weight, which was Spielberg’s debut.
Weston, Scooby, Dyn O Mite, and Dixie’s Two Stents (who broke awkwardly and never factored into the race) completed the order of finish.
Dr. Schivel’s win improved his record to 4-2-1-1 with $197,000 earned. The Violence colt is co-owned by William Branch (who also co-bred him), Red Baron’s Barn, Rancho Temescal, and Dean Reeves.
“I loved the way he was moving (down the backstretch),” Mendez said “He looked comfortable, and around the turn, it looked like he had a lot of horse, so I felt really good and he got it done. I’m very proud of myself and the team for what we’ve done getting him to win this race.”
Mendez will turn over training duties to Mark Glat as he makes his annual trek to Utah to prepare the next batch of precocious juveniles.
“I thank the owners for giving me this horse,” Mendez said. “I’ve got to go back home and start breaking babies for them. I don’t have any other feeling than that.”
Dr. Schivel returned $4.80 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Spielberg brought back $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show, while Weston paid $2.80 to show.