DEL MAR, Calif.— Heywoods Beach and Tizamagician square off again in the G2 Del Mar Handicap, part of the excellent card on TVG Pacific Classic Day at Del Mar Saturday. But this time they’ll go at it on the grass.
The two met on opening weekend in the G3 Cougar II, run on the main track at Del Mar. The two dueled throughout much of the 1 ½ mile race with Heywoods Beach coming out on top at the end and Tizamagician finishing a game second. The year before it was Tizamagician walking into the winner’s circle and Heywoods Beach finishing third in the Cougar II.
Heywoods Beach has been running against some tough competition like Smooth Like Straight, Country Grammer and Express Train. The win in the Cougar II was just his second race of the year and the 1 3/8 miles of the Del Mar Handicap shouldn’t be a problem.
Tizamagician will be trying grass for the first time since he ran 10th in his only other try on the turf in 2020. Mandella had considered the TVG Pacific Classic but chose the Handicap instead.
“I’m going to be a magician and make a grass horse out of him,” Mandella says. “With as tough as the Classic is and him wanting the long distance, it just figured. I tried him once as a 3-year-old on the turf and it wasn’t a real fair evaluation. So we’re just hoping he can adapt to the turf because then you have more long races and that’s what he really likes.”
As for turning the tables on Heywoods Beach.
“I don’t take anything personal,” Mandella says. “I just try to beat anybody I can.”
The Del Mar Handicap is far from being a two-horse race. Trainer Michael McCarthy will bring his G2 Eddie Read winner Master Piece to the party.
“He’s training super,” McCarthy says. “Obviously he likes this turf course. Hopefully, he’ll put out the same kind of performance he did in the Eddie Read.”
Master Piece had a ground-saving trip throughout the 1 1/8 mile journey in the Eddie Read, tipping out at the top of the lane and blowing by dueling front runners to win by 3 ¼ lengths. Two other runners in the Del Mar Handicap ran in the Eddie Read: Masteroffoxhounds set the pace and faded to fifth and Tango Tango Tango made a run at the lead on the turn but faded to seventh.
The G2 Del Mar Handicap will go off as the 11th and last race of the stakes-packed card. Approximate post time is 6:20 p.m.
Here’s the field from the rail with jockeys: Dicey Mo Chara (John Velazquez); Gold Phoenix (Flavien Prat); Gregdar (Umberto Rispoli); Red King (Hector Berrios); Tango Tango Tango (Declan Cannon); Tizamagician (Mike Smith); Order and Law (Edwin Maldonado); Tesoro (Joe Bravo); Master Piece (Abel Cedillo); Masteroffoxhounds (Juan Hernandez), and Heywoods Beach (Ramon Vasquez).
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Heywoods Beach (Benoit Photo)