An exciting undercard at Del Mar to kick off Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday

November 4, 2021

DEL MAR, Calif.—Four stakes with combined purses of $700,000 will lead up to the five Breeders’ Cup races – three worth $1 million and two worth $2 million – on Friday’s 10-race program.

A look at the four not-to-be-underestimated events on the undercard.

Race No. 2:  $150,000 Qatar Golden Mile; one mile (turf) for 2-year-olds

Ready to Purrform didn’t make the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf field, so the son of Kitten’s Joy, owned by Donegal Racing and trained by Brad Cox, will seek a third straight win to start his career in this one as the 5/2 morning line favorite.

Eoin Harty-trained Degree of Risk, Grade I-placed at Woodbine, is the 4-1 second choice and has Del Mar’s leading rider Flavien Prat in the saddle. Michael McCarthy-trained Optimising, with John Velazquez, is third at 5-1.

Optimising, owned by Red Barons Barn and Rancho Temescal, was fourth, beaten two lengths by McKinnon in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf on closing day of the summer meeting in his last start.

“He’s only run once for us and we’re still trying to figure him out, but he has been training well and we’re glad to get him back down here,” McCarthy said.

Race No. 3: $175,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies; 7 furlongs for 2-year-old California-bred fillies 

George Krikorian’s Big Novel, trained by John Sadler, is the 3-1 morning line favorite off a third-place finish in the Generous Portion on September 3 and a maiden win at Santa Anita on October 2.

“Joe (jockey Joe Bravo) knows her well having ridden her twice already and working her in the mornings,” said Sadler assistant Juan Leyva. “Joe has been really happy with the way she has worked so I think she’s just going to move forward off that.”

CTBA Stakes winner At the Spa and supplemental entry Vivacious Vanessa are the co-second choices at 4-1. Jorge Periban trains At the Spa, Gary Mandella has Vivacious Vanessa, a first-out winner on the turf at Santa Anita on October 16.

“She won impressively, but there’s no grass race for her until January, so we’re going to try her on the dirt,” Mandella said. “She’s fit enough because she just ran a mile.”

Race No. 4: $200,000 Senator Ken Maddy; 5 furlongs (turf) for fillies and mares

Superstition, a winner of the Daisycutter Stakes here on July 25 over the same course, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The 4-year-old daughter of  Ghostzapper, owned by Ramona or Perry Bass, trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Prat, was third in a Grade III event a Kentucky Downs on September 11 in her last start.

Hear My Prayer, one-for-one at Del Mar in a 10-race career, is 4-1 from the inside post for owners Holly and David Wilson and trainer Vladimir Cerin. Third choice at 5-1 is Doug O’Neill-trained A G Indy at 5-1. The 4-year-old daughter of Take Charge Indy owned by R3 Racing won twice over the course at the summer meeting.

“She’s training well, has good speed and I’ve got Umberto Rispoli on her (for the fourth straight time) so I give her a good chance in there even though it is a very tough race,” O’Neill said.

Race No. 5: $175,000 Golden State Juvenile; 7 furlongs for California-bred 2-year-olds

Joker Boy, trained by Brian Koriner, is the 7-2 morning line favorite based on a wire-to-wire win in the six-furlong I’m Smokin Stakes at Del Mar on September 4. Finneus, Walther Solis’ Del Mar Futurity runner-up, is next at 4-1 and Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy third on the morning line at 5-1. A son of 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Slow Down Andy, trained by O’Neill, was a debuting winner by 4 ¾ lengths at Santa Anita on October 9.

“His first start was really impressive, and he landed a really good outside post (No. 11) for this, so we’re optimistic he can repeat his debut,” O’Neill said.

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Del Mar Press Release

Photo of Del Mar starting gate by Benoit Photos

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