Carmelita’s Man doubles up on California Dreamin’ scores (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
By Maribeth Kalinich
DEL MAR, Calif.— It was exactly one year ago that T. Lawrence Jett and Ann Jett’s Carmelita’s Man (under Juan Hernandez), Bang for Your Buck and recent Grade 1 Bing Crosby winner The Chosen Vron went nose-to-nose in the 2022 edition of the $150,000 California Dreamin’ at Del Mar. Carmelita’s Man would rally from eighth to challenge on the stretch and beat Bang for Your Buck by a head with The Chosen Vron third by a nose.
In this year’s edition, Bang for Your Buck was back this time with Geovanni Franco in the irons, but he would be no factor in this race. However, the Dean Pederson-trained Carmelita’s Man under new rider Tiago Pereira was ready for a repeat performance including coming off the pace to challenge the pacesetter Kings River Knight with Umberto Rispoli who bounced back and forth for the lead with Jimmy Blue Jeans (Kent Desormeaux) with a bit of a challenge from Bally’s Charm (Hector Berrios).
Sitting in sixth behind Hacking It Up (Diego Herrera) just in front of None Above the Law (Joe Bravo), Carmelita’s Man would swing four wide and surge past rivals including the strong Kings River Knight to take the prize by three-quarters of a length. None Above the Law would hit third 1-1/2 lengths back with Royal n’ Rando (Armando Ayuso) rallying for fourth by half of a length.
Jimmy Blue Jeans, Bally’s Charm, Indian Peak (Ramon Vazquez), Bang for Your Buck, Larry’s Legend (Edwin Maldonado) and Hacking It Up complete the order of finish.
A one and one sixteenth miles contest on the turf, fractions were :23.20, :47.45, 1:11.29 and 1:35.15 with a final time of 1:41.00. The record in the California Dreamin’ was set by Fly to Mars at 1:39.50 on July 28, 2018.
Carmelita’s Man rewarded the faithful with a nice $13.60 for the win, 5.00 for place and 3.80 for show. Kings River Knight paid $2.80 and 2.40 for second, and None Above the Law offered $3.80 for show. The $1 Exacta awarded $20.50 with $11.60 for the $2 Quinella and a $49.80 50 cent Trifecta and $68.71 10 cent Super.
“Yes, this is the first time I ride this horse. I worked him last week and I got off and said, ‘I love this horse.’ Dean (trainer Pederson) told me to put him in the race. We got a good spot, and he was running well. Then I chirped to him, and he really went. We were winners all the way,” said Pereira.
Last year’s California Dreamin’ was Carmelita’s Man’s second of three wins in a row with success in his previous start in the Crystal Waters Stakes at Santa Anita and an Allowance score just after. The 6-year-old chestnut gelding was third in this year’s edition of the Crystal Waters and has eight wins in 27 career starts with six second places and two third place earning $554,670.
“The end result is what we were hoping for that’s for sure. I was a little worried around the turn. He was in between horses, and it looked like he was backing up a little bit but once he got him outside and in the clear it was good. He’s still got it, I guess. He just very reliant on pace. We got a little help today and he’s still willing to do it,” remarked Pederson.
The stakes win was the first at the meet for both the rider and the trainer. The victory is the first in the race for rider Pereira, but his 11th overall at Del Mar. Pedersen won his third stakes win overall at Del Mar and his second California Dreamin’.
Bred in California by Richard Barton Enterprises & Robert Traynor, Carmelita’s Man is by Mucho Macho Man out of North Light (IRE) mare Carmelita.