DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Dan Blacker’s Hit the Road looked worth every penny bet that made him favored as he proved much the best in Friday’s $100,000 Runhappy Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar.
Breaking well from post 7 as the 8/5 favorite under Umberto Rispoli, Hit the Road managed to clear his inner foes and settled along the rail behind early leader Silardi heading into the clubhouse turn. Margot’s Boy gave closest chase as Silardi led through opening fractions of :22.82 and :47.41, and 1:11.71.
Still inside as he rounded the far turn, Hit the Road waited briefly for a hole to appear before storming his way to the front and drawing away in an instant.
The bettors’ choice scorched the oceanside lawn late, ultimately crossing 1 3/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:35.09 for the firm turf mile event.
“I think Dan has done a terrific job with this horse,” Rispoli said. “He ran a very, very good race today. He broke really well so I could take the rail. I had a lot of horse; more horse than I thought. Maybe I could have won this race by more.”
Kanderel and Ajourneytofreedom, the top two finishers from the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, crossed second and third, respectively, behind the runaway winner. Rookie Mistake and I’m Leaving You followed suit to round out the top five.
Margot’s Boy, K P All Systems Go, Heywoods Beach, Silardi, Tizamagician, El Tigre Terrible, and Howbeit completed the order of finish.
Hit the Road’s win was his second from as many starts this year, having returned to the races victorious against optional claiming rivals at Santa Anita Park in May. The 3-year-old More Than Ready Colt improved his overall record to 7-4-0-0 with $134,751 earned for co-owners D K Racing, Radley Equine, Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, and Dave Odmark.
“I’m just thrilled to win a big race on opening day at Del Mar,” Blacker said. “The Oceanside is like my Kentucky Derby. It’s unfortunate that there were no fans, but that’s the way things are. Umberto ran a faultless race and the horse is super talented. You can put him on the lead or take him back and Umberto put him in a perfect spot.”
Hit the Road returned $5.20 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. Kanderel brought back $13.20 to place and $8.60 to show, while Ajourneytofreedom paid $9.40 to show.