Del Mar Stakes Race Reviews

The Chosen Vron wins the 2023 Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)

By Jarrod Horak

The second week of Del Mar’s 2023 Bing Crosby Season is in the books. In this post I will cover Del Mar stakes race reviews for Nov. 18-19 and preview the upcoming third week of the fall meet. 

Del Mar Stakes Race Reviews (Nov. 18-19)

Desi Arnaz – Nov. 18 – 7 furlongs dirt  

Royal Slipper was less than even money and she broke like a rocket and was quickly clear. She carved out splits on 22.03 and 45.55. It looked like she might dominate this one but she began to shorten stride in the lane and the seven panel distance jumped up and bit her. Tambo chased from 2nd, got first run when the pacesetter faltered, and looked home free but inside stalker Nothing Like You ($11.40) got up in the final stride to score by a nose. Tambo was 2 1/4 lengths in front of clear show finisher Royal Slipper. The final time was 1:23.03. 

Cary Grant – Nov. 18 – 7 furlongs dirt

Four horses scratched and that left a field of five. My top choice Big City Lights looked like the controlling speed on paper but he stumbled at the start and lost his tactical advantage. The Chosen Vron with Hector Berrios aboard took advantage of the race shape and dueled outside overmatched pace player Principe Carlo. The overwhelming favorite put away his pace rival and was all alone on the lead in the lane. Big City Lights was last for the opening half-mile and made a sustained outside run, but The Chosen Vron was long gone and scored by 2 3/4 lengths as the 1-2 chalk. Big City Lights was clearly second best in his first start since January, and Moose Mitchell stalked wide and was best of the rest in 3rd. None Above the Law and Principe Carlo also ran. The final time was 1:21.22.    

Grade 3 Bob Hope- Nov. 19 – 7 furlongs dirt

Nysos made short work of this compact field. Tejon Pass, Mission Beach, and Stronghold battled for early supremacy, and Nysos was in a comfortable stalking position from the outside post under Flavien Prat. The opening quarter was 22.34 and Stronghold had the edge by a head after a half in 44.97. It was all Nysos after that. The strong favorite was in front after six panels in 1:09.20 and he pushed well clear to score by a facile 8 3/4 lengths. He paid $2.40 to win. Stronghold was clearly second best and Tejon Pass was miles clear of Mission Beach. Bob Baffert was the winning trainer and the final time was 1:21.71. Nysos is clearly one of the top juveniles in the land and it sure looks like he will handle two turns based on his first two romping wins. 

Del Mar Week 3 Preview (Nov. 23-26)

Del Mar has multiple graded races on the docket for Thanksgiving week. The festivities kick off on Nov. 23 with the Grade 3 Red Carpet Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the turf course. Late runner Sister Otoole is the 3-2 morning line favorite for Graham Motion. She captured the last two runnings of the CTT & TOC Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar. Neige Blanche (FR) has won ten races and earned over $625k in her career, and she can definitely win this race on her best day. Linda’s Gift is the likely target. 

The feature race on Friday, Nov. 24 is the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles. Francisco Clemente (IRE) is an interesting shipper for Chad Brown. The Dubawi (IRE) colt added blinkers and scored from off the pace as the even money favorite in an allowance event at 1 3/8 miles on turf at Aqueduct on Oct. 19. He should make his presence felt in the lane under Umberto Rispoli. 

The big race on Saturday, Nov. 25 is the Grade 2 Seabiscuit at 1 1/6 miles on turf. Hong Kong Harry (IRE) won this race in 2022 for Phil D’Amato and he is expected to attempt a title defense in 2023. He was last seen winning the City of Hope Mile (G2) as the favorite at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 30. 

Del Mar’s Thanksgiving week stakes schedule wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 26 with the Grade 3 Native Diver at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. A few sophomores were nominated including sharp front runner Arrowthegreat, Mr Fisk and Tahoe Sunrise for Bob Baffert, and Skinner for trainer John Shirreffs. The latter hit the board in the San Felipe (G2), SA Derby (G1), and Los Al Derby, and finished 5th in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and Awesome Again in his last pair.