DEL MAR, Calif.— The chestnut gelding Hong Kong Harry responded perfectly to rider Flavien Prat’s cues and came running in the lane to pull clear late and capture the $302,000 Del Mar Mile by two and a quarter lengths at Del Mar in one of five stakes races on the seaside oval’s sparkling Saturday agenda.
The 5-year-old Irish-bred is owned by a trio of Californians – Scott Anastasi, Jimmy Ukegawa and Tony Valazza – and is trained by Phil D’Amato.
“Harry” picked up a check for $180,000 for his good work in the $302,000 Del Mar Mile, a Grade II test. He now has a total earnings record of $415,097 and eight wins in 12-lifetime starts.
Finishing second was Oozo de Luna’s Irideo, who had a length and a quarter on Sterling Stables, Nentwig or CYBT’s Cathkin Peak.
The winner covered the mile on the lawn in a rapid 1:33.15 and, as the race’s 6/5 favorite, returned $4.40, $3.00 and $2.20 across the board. Irideo paid $8.80 and $4.40, while Cathkin Peak returned $2.80 to show.
The victory in the Mile was rider Prat’s third straight in the event. He’d come to town from his current New York headquarters to ride the TVG Pacific Classic favorite Flightline later on the card, but Hong Kong Harry proved a nice stop along the way.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Hong Kong Harry, winner)—“We had a good trip. The pace was strong. I got lucky when I was able to drop myself inside around the turn and he made a good run when I asked him to do it. The leader was really far in front. Obviously, that’s the way he ran last time, so I didn’t know if he was going to come back to me. I rode this horse for his first race in the country and really liked him a lot. It seems like he’s improving a lot and is getting even better.
PHIL D’AMATO (Hong Kong Harry, winner) – “When Goliad kicked away at the 3/8’s pole, I didn’t know if it was going to be a super freaky effort or not. Flavien was sitting in the right spot. Around the quarter pole my horse was picking up steam, angling out and ready to kick in. Once he did, I thought it was just a matter of time and he did it stylishly.”
FRACTIONS: :22.44 :45.00 1:08.29 1:21.23 1:33.15
The stakes win was the first of the meet for rider Prat but his third straight in the Del Mar Mile. He now has 78 stakes wins at Del Mar, 10th best among all riders all time.
The stakes win was the fourth of the meet for trainer D’Amato and his third in the Del Mar Mile. He now has 39 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The winning owners – all Californians — are Scott Anastasi from Hermosa Beach, Jimmy Ukegawa from Carlsbad and Tony Valazza from Monrovia.
DMTC Press Release
Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire