DEL MAR, Calif.— The first of the graded stakes on the TVG Pacific Classic undercard is the G2 Del Mar Mile, going off as Race 7 of the 11-race card. 10 horses are set to go in the contest run on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Hong Kong Harry will be out to avenge his loss in the G2 Eddie Read in July at Del Mar. ‘Harry’ was sideswiped and bumped hard a few steps out of the gate, leaving him some six lengths off the pace. He’s used to being a lot closer and trainer Phil D’Amato says he never got into a position to win.
“Hopefully we get a clean break this time,” D’Amato says. “Last time he got wiped out at the start and it definitely cost us any chance of winning. If we can tactically get into a good spot out of the gate, I think he can run a winning race.”
Hong Kong Harry has run four times since arriving in the States from England in March. He’s won three of those races, including the G3 American at Santa Anita in June.
D’Amato also will run Cathkin Peak, who ran third in the Eddie Read.
The D’Amato pair will have to deal with Irideo, an impressive winner of the $100,000 Wickerr Stakes on opening weekend at Del Mar, one of two stakes winners this summer from the Marcelo Polanco barn.
“I feel good,” Polanco says, “because he’s coming to the race the same way he came to the other race. He’s working good and eating like nothing happens.”
There are two horses in the Del Mar Mile who won on Pacific Classic Day last year. Tripoli won the TVG Pacific Classic, rallying past Tizamagician. He has not won since.
Astronaut has also gone winless since capturing the 2021 Del Mar Handicap. In fact, he has yet to race this year.
“He’s coming off of a layoff,” trainer John Shirreffs points out. “Seems like a good spot to start him and get him going again. This race might not be quite long enough because a mile and 3/8’s is more his style.”
Here’s the field for the G2 Del Mar Mile from the rail with jockeys: Air Force Red (John Velazquez); Tarantino (Mike Smith); Irideo (Hector Berrios); None Above the Law (Joe Bravo); Hong Kong Harry (Flavien Prat); Goliad (Juan Hernandez); Cathkin Peak (Umberto Rispoli); Figureti (Abel Cedillo); Tripoli (Tiago Pereira), and Astronaut (Victor Espinoza).
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Hong Kong Harry (Benoit Photo)