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Magic previews the 2022 La Jolla Handicap (G3) at Del Mar, then gives his top picks and longshots. The morning line favorite Sumter brings a 3-race win streak into town, but is his form at risk as he goes longer than he’s ever tried before? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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The track press release:
Owners of racehorses find great joy when their horses are able to win a race, of course. But they find more than joy – something bordering on ecstasy – when one of the horse that they have bred is a winner. It’s like your son or daughter winning a championship in whatever they happen to compete in. It is just the best.
And if that winning race is a stakes race….well, now we’re talking about something beyond the beyond.
That very thing looms at Del Mar Sunday when a stakes doubleheader features a pair of homebreds as the morning line favorites in the two black type affairs that highlight the 11-race card.
First we have the Grade II, $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf course. Next comes the $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes at five and a half furlongs on the main track that is limited to California-bred 2-year-old fillies.
In the 82nd edition of the La Jolla, the colt Sumter figures to be the favorite and the horse to beat in the six-horse field. The son of War Front is on a three-race winning streak, the last two in stakes races. He’s trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and will be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith. And – here’s where the ecstasy factor comes in – his owner and breeder are Perry and Ramona Bass of Fort Worth, TX. You know they’ll be rooting hard.
In the 69th CTBA, the filly Absolutely Zero is undefeated in two starts with the kind of figures that makes her a standout in this lineup of 10. The chestnut is by Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist which ties a nice bow on the package for the filly’s owner and breeder, J. Paul Reddam of Laguna Beach, CA. His Reddam Racing outfit owned Nyquist, too, and you can only imagine how hard he was rooting coming down the lane at Churchill Downs. Doug O’Neill trains Absolutely Zero (he trained Nyquist also) and she’ll be ridden Sunday by Mario Gutierrez (who was Nyquist’s regular rider).
The La Jolla, which is the second of three 3-year-old turf stakes presented at the summer meet, goes as Race 5 Sunday, while the CTBA will be Race 10.
Here’s the full field from the rail out for the La Jolla with riders and morning line odds:
SF Racing, Starlight Racing, et al’s Armagnac (Florent Geroux, 5/2); C R K Stable’s Stayincotai (Umberto Rispoli, 6-1); Gay Barber’s Perfect Flight (Ramon Vazquez, 8-1); Sumter (9/5); Kretz Racing’s Cabo Spirit (Joe Bravo, 5/2), and Americas Pastime Stables and Roncelli Family’s Brit’s Wit (Declan Cannon, 8-1).
Now here’s the lineup from the rail out for the CTBA with their riders and morning line odds:
Lovingier, Mihaljevich or Moroney’s Lov U Mean It (Kyle Frey, 15-1); Absolutely Zero (8/5); Phil Lebherz’s Smiling Lady (Geroux, 10-1); C T R Stables’ Chedda Cash (Edwin Maldonado, 8-1); Berger or Valenzuela’s Fumano’s Girl (Hector Berrios, 4-1); Jaime Renella’s Chismosa (Edgar Payeras, 12-1); Brown, Klein or Lebherz’s Sell the Dream (Abel Cedillo, 2-1); Bernard, Fosselman or Ryan’s Paddle On Polly (Emily Ellingwood, 30-1); LNJ Foxwoods’ Electric Lettuce (Ricky Gonzalez, 4-1), and Lovingier or Griffin Stables’ E Z Pharis (Tyler Baze, 6-1).
First post on Sunday is 2 p.m. The La Jolla is scheduled to go off at approximately 4:05 p.m., while the CTBA goes for approximately 6:35 p.m.
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