DEL MAR, Calif.—Kretz Racing’s Cabo Spirit, back in the crowd for the first half of the mile and one-sixteenth La Jolla Handicap, put on the blasters late and reeled them all in from the outside to capture the Grade III stakes by half a length Sunday at Del Mar.
The Kentucky-bred by Pioneerof the Nile had been gelded since his previous start and the surgical procedure certainly seemed to have a positive effect for the youngster, who turned back five 3-year-old rivals in the 82nd edition of the race, which was first run at the seaside track in its inaugural year of 1937.
Cabo Spirit, who was ridden by Joe Bravo and is trained by George Papaprodromou, picked up a winner’s share of $90,000 from the gross purse of $150,500 to push his total earnings to $312,560. The La Jolla was his first graded stakes win in his 13th start. He ran the race on Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante turf course in 1:42.28.
“I was little worried he got kinda far back, but Joe rode him patiently and nicely and then made a move on the turn and he just exploded. We decided to geld him to get him to relax and obviously you can see, (what happened). He got a little tense and hot but he got to relax a little more than before. Del Mar Derby (September 3) is next,” Papaprodromou commented.
“I wasn’t really where I wanted to be going into the first turn, and I could tell they were really slowing it down up front. But he made a big move on his own around the (far) turn and then in the stretch it was all him.” (Did he think the horse being gelded since his last start had an effect?) “I don’t know, but I think I’d probably have been better if I’d been gelded a while back for sure,” Bravo jested.
Finishing second in the La Jolla was Gary Barber’s Perfect Flight, who had three-quarters of a length on Perry or Ramona Bass’ Sumter, the race favorite at 9/5.
Cabo Spirit paid $7.40, $4.20 and $2.80 across the board. Perfect Flight returned $11.20 and $4.60, while Sumter paid $2.80 to show.
The La Jolla is the second of three turf stakes run at the session for 3-year-olds. (The Oceanside on Opening Day was the first.) The climactic race is the series is the Grade II Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby on Saturday, September 3. It carries a $300,000 purse and is run at nine furlongs.
Trainer Papaprodromou indicated that Del Mar’s “Derby” would be his horse’s next start.
DMTC Press Release
Photo by Benoit Photos