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The 2017 Del Mar Awards

Melanie Martines

Horse of the Meet: Collected
This horse loves Del Mar! Not many people believed that Collected could defeat Arrogate, but that’s exactly what he did in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. Jockey Martin Garcia had joked that Collected could beat Arrogate and proved it on August 19th. Even when Bob Baffert loses, he wins! Collected should be a strong betting choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Older Male of the Meet: Collected
The Horse of the Meet obviously earned this award as well. His wire-to-wire win in the Pacific Classic earned a huge Beyer number (115), the biggest of his career. His connections have to be smiling, knowing that the Breeders’ Cup will be held at Del Mar for the first time ever this year. Perfect timing for this improving horse.

Older Female of the Meet: Stellar Wind
The Vale Dori vs. Stellar Wind rivalry has been fun to watch, and it was closer than ever at Del Mar, but Stellar Wind prevailed once again. Her win in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch was her third straight Grade 1 victory. Her improvement year to year has been fantastic and she looks to be set up for a big run in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

3 Year Old Male of the Meet: Sharp Samurai
The 3-year-old racing at Del Mar is all about the turf, very different from its rival track out east. Sharp Samurai was an easy choice for this award, proving his worth by wining the Grade 3 La Jolla and the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby to close out the meet. He now has three victories in a row heading into the fall.

3 Year Old Female of the Meet: Dream Dancing
After struggling a bit on the east coast, Dream Dancing shipped in to Del Mar for the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and had success. She fell all the way to tenth early on in the race but kept to task and sprinted home quickly down the lane to win by a nose over Beau Recall. This ended up being one of the closest stakes races of the season.

2 Year Ole Male of the Meet: Bolt d’Oro
After breaking his maiden here on August 5, he parlayed that into a very impressive win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. Both he and runner-up Zatter were well clear of the other horses, which could mean that these two are for real. Bolt d’Oro is definitely a top-five Kentucky Derby prospect and will be one of the top betting choices in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

2 Year Old Female of the Meet: Moonshine Memories
Much like Bolt d’Oro, Moonshine Memories came to Del Mar and broke her maiden, then won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante. A field that looked to fairly strong on paper makes her victory meaningful when looking at races down the road. For now, she is our number-one ranked 2-year-old filly.

Sprinter of the Meet: Ransom the Moon
He only raced once at the meet, but he made it count! Ransom the Moon took home the Grade 1 Bing Crosby by 1 1/2 lengths while stalking the pace smartly and taking control in the stretch. The win was his first Grade 1 victory and sets him up for a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint to end the year.

Owner of the Meet: Hronis Racing, LLC
Not only where they the leading owners of the meet, but they also took down major races with Accelerate in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap and Stellar Wind in the Clement L. Hirsch. Both horses love Del Mar as well, so their Breeders’ Cup prospects look very promising.

Trainer of the Meet: Phil D’Amato
It was a tie for top trainer this year at Del Mar between Phil D’Amato and Richard Baltas. Both trainers accumulated 18 victories and were three races clear of Peter Miller and Mark Glatt. However, D’Amato had more purse earnings than Baltas, thus breaking the tie in our book and awarding him Trainer of the Meet.

Jockey of the Meet: Flavien Prat
Nobody’s riding better right now in Southern California! Prat ended up winning the title by six races over Rafael Bajarano and up-and-coming rider Evin Roman. Both Prat and Roman got off to hot starts, but Prat stayed consistent throughout the meet, earning 35 victories. He should continue to ride this momentum for years to come.

Race of the Meet: Pacific Classic
No race all year had more intrigue than the Pacific Classic. The number-one horse in the world, Arrogate, looked to get back on track. However, his stablemate, Collected, stole the show, winning in front-running fashion while holding off Arrogate down the stretch. The race threw a monkey wrench into the Breeders’ Cup Classic division in a major way.

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