DEL MAR, Calif.— A talented field of eight Cal-bred 3-year-olds, seven of which are stakes winners, will go seven furlongs in Friday’s $175,000 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar,.
Trainer Mike Puype summed it up best: “That’s the best race they’ve ever had here for the Real Good Deal.”
Puype ought to know, he’s raced at Del Mar for over 25 years, winning his first stakes here in 1995. He brings Jungle Racing’s Straight Up G to the party, a son of Straight Fire out of the Sky Mesa mare, Gidget Girl. Under previous trainer Richard Baltas, the gelding won the King Glorious at Los Alamitos in December and came back to win the Mine That Bird Stakes at Sunland Park in February. In between, he missed by a neck to Fast Draw Munnings in the Cal Cup Derby at Santa Anita. It will be his first start under Puype.
“We’ll just go give it our best shot and see what we can do,” Puype said. “I’d like to have a little better draw. I’m in between the two speed horses so it’s going to make an interesting trip for the rider (Ricky Gonzalez).”
To Straight Up G’s left will be Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy, the GIII Sunland Derby winner from the Doug O’Neill barn. The son of Nyquist finished second to High Connection in the Los Alamitos Derby last out.
“We’re very confident about him,” stable foreman Sabas Rivera said. “He’s nice and quiet and just does his job.”
To Straight Up G’s right will be KMN Racing’s Smuggler’s Run. Also by Straight Fire out of the Kitten’s Joy mare, Maddie’s Odyssey, the gelding is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. He captured the Echo Eddie Stakes at Santa Anita in April and will be ridden by Mike Smith.
Also in the gate will be Lovingier, Fasihudden or Navarro’s Finneus, winner of the $175,000 Golden State Juvenile at Del Mar on the Breeders’ Cup Friday undercard. He has yet to return to the winners circle in four subsequent tries, though he’s finished in the money in three of those efforts.
Brown, Klein or Lebherz’s Joker Boy won the $100,000 I’m Smokin Stakes at Del Mar last summer. The son of Practical Joke is oh-for-three since.
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams’ Royal ‘n Rando won the $75,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes up at Golden Gate Fields in May. He finished 13th last out in the Oceanside.
Then there’s William Peeple’s Big City Lights from the Richard Mandella barn. The son of Mr. Big is undefeated after two starts but he hasn’t run in over a year. Last out he won the $100,000 Fasig Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita in June of 2021.
“He’s training great,” Mandella said. “I expect him to run really good.”
Here’s the field for the Real Good Deal Stakes from the rail with the jockeys and morning line odds: Finneus (Umberto Rispoli, 8-1); Slow Down Andy (Mario Gutierrez, 2-1); Straight Up G (Ricardo Gonzalez, 4-1); Smuggler’s Run (Mike Smith, 4-1); Joker Boy (Tyler Baze, 15-1); Royal ‘n Rando (Kyle Frey, 12-1); Lookinformischief (Abel Cedillo, 30-1), and Big City Lights (Juan Hernandez, 5-2).
Del Mar Press Release
Photo: Finneus taking the Golden State Juvenile (Benoit Photo)