DEL MAR, Calif.— Slam Dunk Racing, Jerry McClanahan or Michael Nentwig and partners Ginobili, trained to the minute by Richard Baltas and ridden to perfection by Drayden Van Dyke, ran away from eight rivals and won handily in Saturday’s $202,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs Saturday afternoon at Del Mar.
“It went right to plan. We said we wanted to break good and get a spot behind (speed horse) Brickyard Ride. It worked perfectly.
When I worked him the other morning at San Luis Rey (Downs) (a bullet :46.40) and he went out in 1:11 and change and I couldn’t pull him up, I said ‘Oh, boy.’ I knew what I was sitting on today and it was just a matter of letting him do it. It worked exactly the way it was supposed to,” Van Dyke remarked.
The 4-year-old gelding by Munnings took down a top prize of $120,000 in the 36th edition of the Grade II headliner and also earned himself a free Breeders’ Cup ticket into the $1 million Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile, which will be run at Del Mar on Saturday, November 6.
Ginobili ran the distance in 1:22.36 and was clear by a length and three quarters at the wire. The bay runner was capturing the third race of his career in his 13th start. It also was his first stakes win and his bankroll expanded to $279,825.
We nominated him to the (TVG) Pacific Classic, but we talked it over with the owners and decided to go here. Then he drew the rail, but it really didn’t seem to matter. I’m just very, very happy. I thought (Drayden Van Dyke) rode him great. I told him (Brickyard Ride) is going to go and if you can get off the rail and get outside him, do it. He did all that and (Ginobili) won easy enough I think,” Baltas recounted.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Van Dyke and Baltas. It was Van Dyke’s second Catalina Cruiser and Baltas’ first. Van Dyke now has 36 stakes wins at Del Mar while Baltas has 19 wins.
Finishing second was race favorite C Z Rocket, owned by Madaket Stables, Barber or Kagele, and partners. In third, a head behind the runner up, was Lanes’ End Racing or Hronis Racing’s Flagstaff.
As to plan, Ginobili – who had won an allowance race at Del Mar on July 17 by nearly 10 lengths – tracked race leader Brickyard Ride (owned by Alfred Pais) until the five-sixteenths pole, then went on by and was never threatened thereafter.
Pat O’Brien Replay
In the track’s Pick Six Single Ticket Jackpot wager, the sequence again couldn’t be covered by a lone ticket and its carryover into Sunday’s card grew to $188,508.
Sunday’s 10-race card at the seaside oval will begin at 2 p.m. The day’s feature race, the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes, will see the return of two Triple Crown aces – Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and Derby/Belmont competitor Rock Your World – in what figures to be a dandy of a showdown. That race will be the 9th on the card, going off at approximately 6 p.m.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Press Release
Photo: Genobili, (Benoit)