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The Racing Dudes react to Gold Phoenix winning the 2022 Del Mar Handicap (G2) at Del Mar, a “Win & You’re In” for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). The Phil D’Amato trainee turned on the jets late to get up just in time, but does he have any chance on the biggest stage come November? Watch the replay for the Racing Dudes’ INSTANT reactions, then tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
The track press release:
Jockey Flavien Prat climaxed a four-victory afternoon, which included a brilliant win aboard unbeaten Flightline in the Grade I, $1 million Pacific Classic, with a narrow triumph in the Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association astride Irish-bred Gold Phoenix Saturday.
Rallying in the middle of the grass course in the final furlong of the mile and three-eighths marathon, Gold Phoenix collared 2-1 favored Master Piece in the final strides to score by a head in 2:14.51. Prat’s success on Gold Phoenix was in stark contrast to the 19 ¼ length margin by which he took the Pacific Classic on Flightline.
The Del Mar Handicap is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race. Thus, Gold Phoenix earned a berth in the $4 million BC Turf at Keeneland in Kentucky in November.
Gold Phoenix is a 4-year-old gelding by Belardo owned by Little Red Feather Stable and Sterling Stakes and trained by Phil D’Amato. The win was his third in eight starts and first money of $180,000 pushed his bankroll to $311,257.
As second choice at 7-2 in the wagering, Gold Phoenix paid $9.60, $4.60 and $3. Runner-up Master Piece, who was piloted by Abel Cedillo, returned$3.60 and $3, while third place Dicey Mo Chara paid $6.20 to show.
Prat, who traveled from his East Coast base for Pacific Classic day, scored early on the program aboard Kings River Knight at $6.80 in the second and Hong Kong Harry at $4.40 in the seventh, the Del Mar Mile.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Gold Phoenix, winner)—“I just let him relax early in the race. When we were ready to run, I followed the gray horse (Master Piece) around the turn. He was the right horse to follow. I knew he was going to give me a good kick. He just got up. It was a good race.”
PHIL D’AMATO (Gold Phoenix, winner) – “Flavien (Prat) told me in the paddock he was going to get him to the outside because he thought that’s where he would come running best And sure enough he got the job done. This was the race we had on the radar the whole time. We thought we were going to break his allowance before then but he was training so good it was time to put him where we thought he belonged.”
FRACTIONS: :25.69 :50.00 1:13.99 1:38.16 2:02.83 2.14.51
The stakes win was the third of the meet for ride Prat and his second (Fashion Business, 2017) in the Del Mar Handicap. He now has 80 stakes wins at Del Mar, 10th most among all riders.
The stakes win was the fifth of the meet for trainer D’Amato and his seventh in the Del Mar Handicap. He now has 40 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The owners are Little Red Feather Racing, Sterling Stables and Marsha Naify.
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