NoCal Trainers Clean Up At Del Mar This Summer

September 11, 2022

Summer Trainers’ Race Comes Down To Final Day

DEL MAR, Calif.— It has been a meet to remember for several Northern California trainers who like to summer at Del Mar, as well as one trainer who came to Southern California from Northern California and stayed.

Jonathan Wong rattled off seven wins in a week last month at Del Mar, winning ‘Trainer of the Week’ honors and climbing into the Top 10 in the trainer standings. He never left. Going into the final day of the Del Mar summer meet, Wong has notched 13 victories, good for a tie for sixth best in the trainer standings and only six off the pace set by Philip D’Amato.

“Beyond pleased,” Wong says. “It’s definitely exceeded expectations. I was hoping we could win six to eight and we’ve won 13 so far, so we’ve doubled what we were hoping for. Just amazing.

“We’ve had great help,” Wong continues. “We had owners that let us place horses where they could win, a great group of guys working back here for us, making sure everything was taken care of. Fortunately, we got lucky. Horses were just clicking at the right time, they got into their races, and everything worked out perfectly.”

Wong still calls Golden Gate Fields his base but he’s training full-time in Southern California. He’s currently tied for first in the trainer standings up at Golden Gate.

“I live down here, but a majority of our barn is up in the Bay Area,” Wong says, “and we’re thinking about taking a string out to Keeneland for the meet and spreading out into the Kentucky area.”

Andy Mathis. Photo courtesy of California Thoroughbred Trainers

Trainer Andy Mathis had his best meet ever at Del Mar this summer, winning 12 races, good enough for seventh in the trainer standings. Unlike Wong, Mathis has already returned to Northern California, but he takes lasting memories of the 2022 meet.

“So much better than I would ever have imagined,” Mathis says. “It hasn’t totally sunk in yet how good it worked out. I thought it would be more likely that I would win zero races than 12.

“It was one of those deals where we won a few races early and I thought if we could win six or seven races that would be really good,” Mathis added. “The next thing you know you’re at six or seven and you say ‘Boy, nine would be a huge number’ and then it was 10 and then last week we landed on 12.”

Mathis says he appreciates how difficult the summer meet is and how it takes a lot of good luck

“It was a lot of good fortune throughout the whole meet,” he states. “Whether it was pace scenarios or horses that got into races and not on the also eligible lists. Del Mar is hard. Training starts early, you have the later post times. You really need everybody on the same page. All the grooms and the riders. It’s long days and hard work.”

That being said, Mathis says he’ll probably be back next year.

“It’s like playing blackjack and you’re on a big roll,” Mathis says. “You can’t just get up and leave. Once I recover from it, I’ll be wanting to go back.”

Two other trainers at Del Mar for the summer are leaving town with victories under their belt. Quinn Howey calls Northern California home but brought a string of horses to Del Mar and won three races. O.J. Jauregui did the same and pocketed one victory.

Summer Trainers’ Race Comes Down To Final Day

While the jockeys race has been decided for weeks, the trainers race is coming down to the final day of the Del Mar meet. Four trainers all have a shot at taking home the top honors. All four have plenty of chances to win today.

Phil D’Amato currently leads the pack with 19 wins. Bob Baffert is next with 18. Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill come in with 17 victories. All have horses racing today.

For those keeping score, here’s a list of their runners and the races they’re in:

PHIL D’AMATO has seven chances to pad his lead. They are: Excess English (3rd); Midnight’s Girl (4th); Rexford (5th); Gila (6th); In Vronsky Style (7th); Classical Cat in the Futurity (10th), and Flint Stroll (11th).

BOB BAFFERT has seven chances to catch and pass D’Amato but only a possibility of four winners. They are: Reincarnate (3rd); Doinitthehardway (6th); Brocade, Censorship (8th), and Newgate, Cave Rock, and Havnameltdown in the Futurity (10th).

PETER MILLER will run seven horses today. They are: Perfect Flight (2nd); Kid Azteca (3rd); Luka Grazie (5th); Forgiving Spirit, Essential Business (7th); Stone Point (9th), and Tuskegee Cat (11th).

DOUG O’NEILL has seven running: Heartbreak Kid (3rd); Sally Stanford (4th); Keen to Go (5th); Ah Jeez, Syntactic, Tahoma in the G3 Juvenile Turf (9th), and Mixto in the Futurity (10th).

Should D’Amato hang on and win the trainers title, it would be his third summer meet title at Del Mar and his fourth overall. He won the fall meet title last year so a victory this summer would make it back-to-back for D’Amato.

If Baffert comes back and wins the trainers title it would be his first at Del Mar since 2003 when he capped an incredible run of seven consecutive training titles here.

O’Neill snapped Baffert’s streak back in 2004. He’s seeking his sixth summer meet training title at Del Mar and his first since 2019.

Miller could make it three summer meet titles in a row if he can pull off the comeback. It would be his fifth overall to go with his four fall meet titles.

Del Mar Statistics

Jockey Standings
(Current Through Saturday, September 10, 2022, Inclusive)

JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%In-money%Money Won
Juan Hernandez18947342625%57%$3,388,166
Umberto Rispoli15827262317%48%$2,339,428
Ramon Vazquez18123283313%46%$2,070,164
Hector Berrios1161716915%36%$1,233,180
Mike Smith771781122%47%$1,530,400
Abel Cedillo1611519129%29%$1,281,676
Edwin Maldonado13915181611%35%$943,446
Joe Bravo1101514914%35%$1,257,462
Kyle Frey1501215198%31%$878,362
Mario Gutierrez7896812%29%$791,214

 Trainer Standings
(Current Through Saturday, September 10, 2022, Inclusive)

TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%In-money%Money Won
Philip D’Amato13119222715%52%$2,445,800
Bob Baffert6918151526%70%$1,760,150
Peter Miller12117191414%41%$1,490,932
Doug F. O’Neill13817141312%32%$1,406,164
George Papaprodromou9914111014%35%$1,082,520
Mark Glatt7813131417%51%$952,656
Jonathan Wong61136821%44%$525,160
John W. Sadler8712181514%52%$1,536,232
Andy Mathis41122429%44%$518,028
Dean Pederson1281067%75%$437,880

Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Saturday, September 10, 2022, Inclusive)

Winning favorites — 103 out of 283 — 36.40%
Winning favorites on dirt — 62 out of 163 — 38.04%
Winning favorites on turf — 41 out of 120 — 34.17%
Winning odds-on favorites — 21 out of 44   — 47.73%
In-the-Money favorites — 210 out of 283 — 74.20%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites — 39 out of 44 — 88.64%

DMTC Press Release
Photo of Jonathan Wong by Benoit Photo

@jonathanstettin great read as always!

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