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DEL MAR, CA – C T R Stables’ Positivity strode home powerfully to cross the wire first, then survived a lengthy inquiry before officially winning Sunday’s $100,000 Graduation Stakes at Del Mar.
Positivity was the 5/1 third choice as he broke from post 5 under Drayden Van Dyke. Shortly after exiting the stalls, he crossed over and caused the even-money favorite Touchdown Brown to steady slightly.
Good With People set the pace as he broke from the rail, posting opening fractions of :22.07 and :45.47 while Jazz Hands gave closest chase. Good With People straightened for home with a clear advantage and looked to be home free, but he grew visibly tired at the 1/16 pole.
Rallying strongly from mid-pack, Positivity swept past his rivals and usurped the pacesetter in the shadow of the wire to win by a 1/2-length. The Luis Mendez trainee completed the 5 1/2-furlong fast dirt sprint restricted to California-bred juveniles in a final time of 1:05.49.
“We had a nice stalking trip, but he got to jacking around on the turn,” Van Dyke said. “Then when we got to running, I knew I’d catch that horse up front.”
Good With People was 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Scooby, himself 1 length clear of None Above the Law. Completing the order of finish came Rantanen, Jazz Hands, and Touchdown Brown, who never factored into the running after the incident shortly out of the gate.
Broken Finger and Dennis Celery were scratched.
Following the race, both a steward’s inquiry and a jockey’s objection (from Evin Roman aboard Touchdown Brown) necessitated a closer look at the early activities, but ultimately no change was made to the original order of finish.
“Finally got one to go my way,” Van Dyke said of the review. “I was aware of that horse behind me (Touchdown Brown) coming away from there, but I gave him enough time to work it out. It might have been a little sloppy on my part, but I didn’t think it was too bad. My colt is a 2-year-old and he’s still learning.”
Positivity’s victory followed a 3 1/4-length score while going 4 1/2 furlongs on the Santa Anita Park main track on May 22. The Paynter colt, purchased for $20,000 as a yearling has now earned $87,000.
“I know how it goes and I’ve been here before in this position,” said Mendez, who also won the 2019 edition when Big Returns was placed first following the original winner’s disqualification. “I was worried, but last year, the judges made a call for us, and this year, they were on our side again.”
Positivity returned $13.20 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.60 to show. Good With People brought back $3.40 to place and $3 to show, while Scooby paid $4.40 to show.
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