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DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Doug O’Neill’s 8/5 favorite Mackinnon ran off in the stretch to prove a confident winner of Monday’s $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes.
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Mackinnon bumped with Auitania Arrival to his outside as he broke from post 5 under Juan Hernandez, then settled two-wide outside Mogollon Rim heading into the clubhouse turn.
Longshot Thirty Four Coupe (25/1) set the pace with Optimising chasing closest of all through opening fractions of :23.13, :46.79, and 1:11.67.
Tipped out to run three-wide at the top of the stretch, Mackinnon used the clean trip to explode late and win the mile-long firm turf route by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:36.24.
“Doug just basically told me to ride him with confidence,” Hernandez said. “We were doing OK until we got to the far turn and I felt him get a little lazy on me. So when we went for home and he changed leads, I hit him left-handed with the stick on time and he jumped back into it. From there, we just went on with it. He’s a nice horse and the way he finished out today, I think he’ll like to run on.”
A four-way photo for second went to Thirty Four Coupe by a nose over the late-running Silver Surfer, with Optimising and Aquitania Arrival a neck and 3/4 of a length further back.
Silver Surfer was rallying side-by-side with Mackinnon at the top of the stretch but was forced to wait for running room, which may have cost him a closer finish.
Mogollon Rim, Socal Red, Shortman, and My Mane Champ (in his career debut) completed the order of finish.
Mackinnon’s win followed a maiden-breaking effort over this same course and distance July 31 and improved the American Pharoah colt’s overall record to 4-2-1-0. Purchased this past March for $285,000, he’s since earned $117,860 for co-owners ERJ Racing and Dave Kenney.
“He broke his maiden in a manner that we were hoping this day would come, but you never know,” O’Neill said. “So much credit to the owners being so patient and Juan being so patient with this colt. I was a little bit concerned as the race unfolded. I knew that (Optimising) was the X-factor. I knew he was in from Europe and had been working well and had great connections and was in a great spot, but when Juan called on MacKinnon and he responded, I started smiling. If he stays injury free, the (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf [G1] on November 5) is the goal.”
Mackinnon returned $5.20 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.40 to show. Thirty Four Coupe brought back $14.60 to place and $7 to show. Silver Surfer paid $3.20 to show.
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