Mucho Del Oro Springs 11-1 Upset in G3 Daytona 

May 27, 2024

Mucho Del Oro never headed in the Daytona (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Owner Janie Buss Campaigns the Winner

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Mucho Del Oro was prompted to the early lead by Kyle Frey and was never headed on his way to an 11-1 upset in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes going about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

Mucho Del Oro received a late challenge from 7-5 favorite First Peace, ridden by Mike Smith, but had enough left late to score by a half-length for his third stakes win and second down the hill. It was another length back to Almendares (9-2) in third with Johnny Podres (8-1) completing the superfecta.

“We clearly see this horse has a pattern, he wants to go to the lead and continue on with that,” said Frey, who was riding Mucho Del Oro for the first time. “I was just trying to get easier fractions, didn’t get that, but it still worked out so we’re all good.” 

Last June at Santa Anita, Mucho Del Oro was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Doug O’Neill and owner Purple Rein Racing, whose principal is Los Angeles Lakers’ owner Janie Buss. On March 9 at Santa Anita, in his second start for his new connections, Mucho Del Oro won the GIII San Simeon when sprinting on the hillside course.

The winning time was 1:11.37 on a firm turf course. Fractions for the race were 21.87, 43.54 and 1:05.41.Mucho Del Oro paid $24.80, $8.60 and $5.80. First Peace, trained by Mark Glatt, returned $3.00 and $2.40. Almendares, ridden by Antonio Fresu for trainer Phil D’Amato, paid $3.40 to show.

O’Neill was not at Santa Anita Sunday. He is in Texas where on Monday he starts Santa Anita-based E J Won the Cup in the Texas Derby at Lone Star Park. O’Neill’s barn manager, Steve Rothblum, deputized at Santa Anita.

“I just looked at the first quarter and I thought 21.87 going down the hill is no mad dash, so I thought Kyle did a great job with reserving the horse,” Rothblum said. “My concern was in crossing the dirt because he has scoffed at it before, but when he hit the dirt full stride and powered off of it, that was a really good feeling.”

Mucho Del Oro is a 6-year-old gelding by Mucho Macho Man. He upped his record to 19: 10-2-0 with $421,100 in earnings.

Live racing resumes Monday at Santa Anita with a 11-race card including the GII Hollywood Gold Cup, GI Shoemaker Mile and GI Gamely. First post is 1 p.m. PT. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.

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