By Jarrod Horak
The third week of the Del Mar summer meet included five stakes races. Two were of the graded variety and three were restricted to California-bred horses, and the stakes star of the week award goes to Bus Buzz. The state bred sophomore sprinter put on a show in the Real Good Deal Stakes.
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Real Good Deal – August 4 – California-bred – 7 furlongs dirt
Bus Buzz was wickedly fast and just ran them off their feet in this extended sprint. He broke on top and was quickly three lengths clear through an opening quarter in 22.10 and a half in 44.23. He just opened up after that. He went six panels in 1:09.41 and was a good six lengths clear. It was too late for anyone to catch him and he ended up 4 1/4 lengths in front at the wire. He completed his seven panel journey in 1:22.97 and paid $5.80. Giver Not a Taker stalked from fourth and ran into the runner-up spot. He was 2 1/4 lengths clear of outside stalker Clouseau. Barely Functional rallied out of last place to finish a non-threatening fourth. Kangaroo Court chased from the inside post but could not keep up with Bus Buzz, and he weakened to fifth. Boss Sully never got involved and trailed the field.
California Dreamin’ – August 5 – California-bred – 1 1/16 miles turf
Jimmy Blue Jeans was the fastest runner early though splits of 23.20, 47.45, and 1:11.29. Kings River Knight and Bally’s Charm chased those honest fractions. Kings River Knight was moving best of the early runners and struck the front in the lane under Umberto Rispoli, but Carmelita’s Man ($13.60) was working out a smart midpack closing trip under Tiago Pereira, and he finished with a full head of steam to secure the victory by 3/4ths of a length. Kings River Knight ended up a clear second as the beaten favorite, and None Above the Law ran on to finish a clear third in an improved effort. Royal ’n Rando was fourth at 36-1 and was followed by Jimmy Blue Jeans, Bally’s Charm, Indian Peak, Bang for Your Buck, Larry’s Legend, and Hacking It Up. The final time was 1:41 flat and Carmelita’s Man also won this race in 2022. Dean Pederson was the winning trainer.
Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch – August 5 – 1 1/6 miles dirt
Elm Drive sped to the early lead from the inside post in this 5-horse dirt route stakes event. She showed the way through splits of 23.31, 46.68, and 1:11.30. Strong favorite Adare Manor ($3.20) chased from second under Juan Hernandez, and she she kept on coming while using her giant strides to drive clear by a length. Desert Dawn was last for the opening six furlongs or so, and she rallied to finish a clear second under Umberto Rispoli. Sprinter Elm Drive ended up a clear third in an okay effort. Kirstenbosch finished a non-threatening fourth and second betting choice and Adare Manor’s stablemate Fun to Dream faded to last after chasing inside. The final time was 1:43.33 and Adare Manor has now won four straight. She loves Santa Anita and the Breeders’ Cup is at that venue this year, and she will probably go next in the Zenyatta (G2) at the Great Race Place on Oct. 1.
CTBA – August 6 – California-bred, 5 1/2 furlongs dirt
This race was over very early. Strong favorite Pushiness broke like a rocket and was quickly 2 1/2 lengths clear through an opening quarter in 22 flat. They still had four panels to travel but this one was in the bag. The half was run in 45.25 and Pushiness ($3.20) was still in charge, and she was never seriously challenged in a 1 3/4 length tally under Umberto Rispoli. Grand Slam Smile stalked the pace and rallied to finish a clear second. Crazy Hot was sitting in 5th early and made a wide move but could not sustain her run in the stretch and ended up a clear third. Putt for Dough nipped Fly a Fantasy for fourth, and Stay Quiet and Stealthespotlight trailed. The final time was 1:04.75.
Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap – August 6 – 1 1/6 miles turf
You know the strength of a graded race is suspect when a maiden is the post time favorite. Granted, Maltese Falcon (IRE) placed in the Cinema Stakes in his last start, but that was not a strong race either. Agency received early pressure from Justin’s Legacy through a quarter in 23.60. The former got clear by a length after a half in 48.82, and was a length and a half in front after six panels in 1:14.50. It looked like he might steal this one under Ramon Vazquez, but Maltese Falcon ($8.40) worked out a beautiful inside stalking trip, and he struck the front in the lane and graduated by a length under Juan Hernandez. My value top choice Panic Alarm (IRE) was making his stateside bow for John Sadler after scratching out of the opening day Oceanside. He went off at 6-1 in this spot and found his best stride in the lane and got up late to complete the exacta by a nose over Agency. Justin’s legacy was another head back in fourth, and Kid Azteca, Henry Q, Smart Mo, and Zalamo (FR) also ran. The winning final time was 1:44.20.
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