Gold Phoenix gives Prat four with Del Mar ‘Cap victory

September 4, 2022

DEL MAR, Calif.—Jockey Flavien Prat climaxed a four-victory afternoon, which included a brilliant win aboard unbeaten Flightline in the Grade I, $1 million Pacific Classic, with a narrow triumph in the Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association astride Irish-bred Gold Phoenix (IRE) Saturday.

Rallying in the middle of the grass course in the final furlong of the mile and three-eighths marathon, Gold Phoenix collared 2-1 favored Master Piece in the final strides to score by a head in 2:14.51. Prat’s success on Gold Phoenix was in stark contrast to the 19 ¼ length margin by which he took the Pacific Classic on Flightline.

I just let him relax early in the race.  When we were ready to run, I followed the gray horse (Master Piece) around the turn.  He was the right horse to follow.  I knew he was going to give me a good kick.  He just got up.  It was a good race,” said Prat.

The Del Mar Handicap is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race. Thus, Gold Phoenix earned a berth in the $4 million BC Turf at Keeneland in Kentucky in November.

Gold Phoenix is a 4-year-old gelding by Belardo owned by Little Red Feather Stable and Sterling Stakes and trained by Phil D’Amato. The win was his third in eight starts and first money of $180,000 pushed his bankroll to $311,257.

“Flavien (Prat) told me in the paddock he was going to get him to the outside because he thought that’s where he would come running best And sure enough he got the job done. This was the race we had on the radar the whole time. We thought we were going to break his allowance before then but he was training so good it was time to put him where we thought he belonged,” D’Amato said.

As second choice at 7-2 in the wagering, Gold Phoenix paid $9.60, $4.60 and $3. Runner-up Master Piece, who was piloted by Abel Cedillo, returned $3.60 and $3, while third place Dicey Mo Chara paid $6.20 to show.

Prat, who traveled from his East Coast base for Pacific Classic day, scored early on the program aboard Kings River Knight at $6.80 in the second and Hong Kong Harry at $4.40 in the seventh, the Del Mar Mile.

The stakes win was the third of the meet for ride Prat and his second (Fashion Business, 2017) in the Del Mar Handicap. He now has 80 stakes wins at Del Mar, 10th most among all riders.

The stakes win was the fifth of the meet for trainer D’Amato and his seventh in the Del Mar Handicap. He now has 40 stakes wins at Del Mar.

DMTC Press Release
Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire

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