Newcomer Umberto Rispoli pulled the trigger early on Red King and pulled off a notable upset in the 81st edition of the Del Mar Handicap when he was able to hold off odds-on favorite United at the wire in the mile and three-eighths marathon on the Del Mar turf course.
Rispoli, who was winning his seventh stakes – his sixth on turf – at the session, asked the 6-year-old horse by English Channel to move up smartly on the outside past the half-mile pole and get the jump on the favorite, who was saving ground on the rail.
They did just that, then the Italian veteran has just enough left in the gas tank to outlast a closing United by a head.
Red King raced the demanding distance in 2:15.75 and paid $10.60, $3.80 and $2.80 across the board. He picked up a check for $120,000 from the $200,000 purse in the Grade II test, the oldest stakes race at Del Mar. He now has winnings of $398,115.
This was the 81st running of the Del Mar ‘Cap in 81 summers of Thoroughbred sport at the seaside oval. It is presented by the Japan Racing Association.
United, who went off at 7-to-10, is owned by LNJ Foxwoods, was second and BG Stables’ Originaire was third.
The Del Mar Handicap was a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup, guaranteeing the winner entry with all fees paid to the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, which will be run at Keeneland in Kentucky on November 7.
The victory was the meet-leading 34th for Umberto Rispoli and his 24th on the turf course. Today is the 18th day of the 28 day summer session at Del Mar.
UMBERTO RISPOLI (Red King, winner)—“I didn’t like how slow they were going, so I decided to move earlier today. It takes a really good horse to do that, but I knew he had the stamina. I did this when I was riding in Europe. It was close at the finish because he was trying to pull himself up. I am very happy. This horse gave me a Grade 3 win in his last start, and today he gave me a Grade 2. I want to keep it going with him.”
PHIL D’AMATO (Red King, winner) – “I could see going along the backstretch that Flavien (Prat on United) was on the inside and Umberto (Rispoli) was about to make that move on the outside. (Rispoli) timed it perfectly. I give all credit to him. After the last race he was so high on this horse. He chose Red King over Originaire and that gave me a lot of confidence that he felt the horse was climbing up the ladder and to win this race is really special.”
FRACTIONS: :25.07, :49.94 1:15.09 2:03.94 2:15.75
The stakes win was the seventh of the meet (and sixth on grass) for ride Rispoli, who is in his first season at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer D’Amato, but his fourth straight (and sixth of the last seven) in the Del Mar Handicap. He now has 27 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The winning owners are Little Red Feather Racing (Billy Koch of Woodland Hills, CA), Gordon Jacobson from San Diego and Phil Belmonte from Simi Valley, CA.
Press Release-Del Mar/ Photo Credit: Benoit Photo