DEL MAR, Calif.— Eight turf sprinters will line up Thursday at Del Mar in the day’s Race 6, an $82,000 allowance test that will be the featured offering on the eight-race program.
Though he isn’t likely to be the favorite in the dash, baseball fans with long memories might want to make a sentimental wager on horse No. 8 in the field, the chestnut gelding Johnny Podres. As is his wont, the horse’s owner/breeder, Nick Alexander, loves to name many of his runners after old-time baseball players, especially those of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers who he became a fan of because of his admiration for an L.A. lad who played for them named Jackie Robinson. Most everyone can recall Robinson as a helluva athlete who made a groundbreaking dent in the world of baseball and American sports in general through his abilities and courage.
Other former Dodger players who Alexander tagged with names for his horses included Clem Labine, Preacher Roe, Pee Wee Reese and Van Lingel Mungo.
Johnny Podres, who pitched for the Dodgers from 1953 to 1969 in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, gained everlasting fame in Dodger lore when he won two games – including a 2-0 shutout in Game 7 – of the 1955 World Series and allowed “Da Bums” to win their first championship and beat the dreaded and hated New York Yankees.
In any event, Johnny Podres the horse has been a steady sort over the years. The now 5-year-old by Alexander’s home stallion, Grazen, has four wins, seven seconds and four thirds to his credit in a 23-race career so far with earnings of $234,500. He’s been out six times in 2022 and has finished either first, second or third in all those starts. He’s got, as they say, a chance on Thursday.
Here’s the full field for the feature from the rail out with riders:
Red Barons Barn or Rancho Temescal’s Party Girl (Ramon Vazquez up); Train Wreck Ai Racing Stables, Horowitz, et al’s Mac Daddy Too (Diego Herrera); Reddam Racing’s I’ll Stand Taller (Mario Gutierrez); Steve Knapp’s Raging Waters (Tyler Baze); Benowitz Family Trust, CYBT or Nentwig’s Turn On The Jets (Juan Hernandez); Rio Del Sol Stables’ Gregory’s Pride (Umberto Rispoli); Gary Barber’s Time to Party (Edwin Maldonado), and Johnny Podres (Kyle Frey). Blue Moon Racing or Dietrich’s Star Racer with Hector Berrios named on is on the also-eligible list.
The 4-year-old gelding Gregory’s Pride appears to be the logical favorite in the sprint. Though he hasn’t won a race since breaking his maiden at Del Mar last summer, the son of the Speightstown stallion Tamarkuz has been knocking on the door, including a good comeback start on Opening Day at Del Mar when he was beaten a whisker in an allowance dash on the same turf course and distance he’ll navigate Thursday.
Turn On The Jets will be making his U.S. debut in the feature. The Irish-bred 3-year-old won one of four starts as a juvenile in his native land and has been training forwardly for his stateside bow for trainer Phil D’Amato, who has had great success with Irish horses coming to America. Having the leading rider in the boot won’t hurt, either.
First post Thursday is scheduled for 2 p.m. and there will be a carryover of $336,355 in the track’s Pick Six Single Ticket Jackpot wager.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Johnny Podres winning an allowance optional claiming at Del Mar July 24th (Benoit Photo)