By Maribeth Kalinich/Past The Wire
Mike Pegam, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’ Speed Boat Beach fought off rival Game Time to win the $100,000 Cecile B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar for two-year-olds.
With a very bumpy start for most, Game Time took control early and moved inside with an opening quarter of :22.82 as he set the pace under Umberto Rispoli on the inside under pressure to the far turn from from Speed Boat Beach (Flavien Prat) and Fleet Feet (Drayden Van Dyke).
“He broke well, and I thought I was going to be on the lead. But Umberto (Rispoli on Game Time) wanted to go, so we were fine running second. My horse was relaxed and that’s what I wanted. When it came time, he went about his business. Two turns, no problem today. Good race for him,” said Prat.
Speed Boat Beach pressed the pace from outside while in hand, headed Game Time at the quarter pole, took over and cleared briefly in upper stretch before being re-engaged by Game Time in the furlong grounds. As the two colts raced on even terms with a quarter mile left to run, Game Time was overtaken and lost touch momentarily with Speed Boat Beach in the upper stretch, then Game Time fought back from inside but could not get by. And Speed Boat Beach held gamely to the wire. He completed the one-mile turf test in 1:35.38.
First Peace broke in and bumped Ransomware, started to pull while moving to the inside early, raced under a hold stalking up the backstretch, saved ground to the stretch, moved out and finished evenly late for the show.
Ah Jeez took up early to avoid being shuffled, tucked inside off the pace, saved ground through the far turn, looked to angled out but was hemmed in and brushed with rival. He rounded out the superfecta.
Ransomware got pinballed leaving the gate, bumped hard between rivals on the first turn, tracked three deep and flattened in the lane. Ze’bul bumped hard while chasing three deep on the first turn, took the second turn three to four wide, then tipped out and lacked a rally.
Fleet Feet stalked off the rail then outside a rival, came three-wide into the lane, he brushed with Ah Jeez in upper stretch and then weakened.
Kolomio bumped leaving the gate, got put in tight and was forced to check early then started to pull on the inside, continued to tug on the backstretch and went between rivals, traveled two-wide on the far turn and could not rally.
The stakes win was the fifth of the meet for rider Prat and his second (Flying Scotsman, 2018) in the Cecil B. DeMille. He now has 85 stakes at Del Mar 10th most among all riders.
Speed Boat Beach, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, added to his near perfect record of three wins in four starts with his one disappointment being the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. The colt pressed the pace early, was bumped near the five sixteenths pole before tiring and finishing ninth.
It was Baffert’s first win in the DeMille giving him four stakes for the Bing Crosby Meet.
“I liked the way he relaxed and (yet) he has the speed. For a horse that can go from a five and a half track record and then win going a mile on the turf, that’s a pretty good race horse and he’s going to get better with age. So, we’ll just pick our spots with him. Just have fun with him,” Baffert remarked.
Winning his debut at Del Mar Sept. 10 by 1 1/4 lengths, Speed Boat Beach followed up with a win in the Speakeasy at Santa Anita Oct. 2 that gained him entry into the Breeders’ Cup.
Bred in Florida by Caperlane Farm, the handsome dark brown colt is by Bayern, 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner who was also trained by Baffert and is out of Pioneerof The Nile mare Sophia Mia. He last sold at the Ocala two-year-old sale for $200,000.