DEL MAR, Calif.— The final week of racing at Del Mar this summer kicks off with an eight-race card Friday, highlighted by the final Cal-bred stakes race of the meet, the $125,000 I’m Smokin Stakes for 2-year-olds.
Eight colts and geldings will line up for the six-furlong test including the intriguing entry of Moon Ice, a stablemate of Flightline in the John Sadler barn. This will be the colt’s first career start following a steady work tab dating back to June 16.
“He’s a 2-year-old that’s shown promise,” Sadler says. “It looks a little ambitious, going in a stake but we think he’s got some ability.”
Flavien Prat will ride Moon Ice.
Trainer Tim Yakteen will send out Kangaroo Court, a 14-length winner in his last start, a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar last month. He wired that group as the odds on favorite and may be the one to catch Friday.
“No one envisioned their horses winning by that many lengths,” Yakteen says. “We didn’t get in the first maiden race we had originally entered in so we have less time between races comparatively to some of our competitors. We had a good breeze so he’s training great and we’re good to go.”
Kangaroo Court may get company up front from Straighten Up, a colt that won at first asking at Los Alamitos in July then came back and ran second to The Big Wam in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar last month.
“He breezed today, a little 3/8’s breeze and we’re ready to go off that,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer says. “We don’t think he has to go to the front but we’ll have to look at the form and see how the race is going to set up.”
Trainer Peter Miller has a live one in the I’m Smokin in Giver Not a Taker. The gelded son of Danzig Candy also won at first asking, running off to win by seven lengths at Del Mar last month
Merit Song is another gelding worth a look. He broke his maiden at Del Mar in July and then came back and won an entry-level allowance race two weeks ago. He’s trained by veteran conditioner Hector Palma.
The I’m Smokin Stakes goes off as the seventh race of the day.
Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys: Kangaroo Court (Abel Cedillo); Moon Ice; Hacking It Up (Mario Gutierrez); Amigo G A (Ramon Vasquez); Good N Thirsty (Hector Berrios); Straighten Up (Mike Smith); Merit Song (Joe Bravo), and Giver Not a Taker (Jose Valdivia).
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Racing at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)