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Trainer John Sadler had an unforgettable 2018 Del Mar summer meeting, winning eight Stakes races, including the $1 million Grade I Pacific Classic with eventual 2018 Horse of the Year Accelerate. 

So what do you do for an encore?

How about becoming the first trainer in the history of Del Mar to win back-to-back Pacific Classics with different horses?  With Accelerate off to stud this year, Santa Anita Handicap winner Gift Box getting a rest, and San Diego Handicap winner Catalina Cruiser being pointed to shorter races, it seemed like a tall order. 

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Higher Power, purchased at auction earlier this year for $250,000, proved up to the task.  Under a great ride by Del Mar leading jockey Flavien Prat, Higher Power showed good speed from the gate to press the pace, took over entering the far turn when Quip faltered, and maintained a safe margin to the wire. The $600,000 winner’s share of the purse makes his auction price look like a steal. 

It was Sadler’s sixth Stakes victory this summer at Del Mar, but the stable is hardly done for the meet. Catalina Cruiser will be heavily favored in Saturday’s Grade II Pat O’Brien Stakes going seven furlongs. Flavien Prat has apparently established a foothold in the Sadler stable, as he will take over on Catalina Cruiser in a race that offers a fees paid birth to the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. 

Inspiressa, an extremely impressive Maiden winner earlier in the meet, is on schedule for the Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Labor Day weekend, and Sadler will be represented in other Stakes races before the end of the meet.  It is possible that the trainer could exceed the eight Stakes victories he piled up last summer.  

Remembering Jack

CBS Sports announced on Sunday that Jack Whitaker, the legendary broadcaster who covered everything from Super Bowls to the Triple Crown, died of natural causes at his home in Devon, Pa.  He was 95. 

Whitaker entered network television sports at CBS in 1961 after starting his broadcasting career on radio.  In 1982, he joined the ABC network in the news and sports divisions and was part of the Olympics coverage on ABC in 1984 and 1988.  He retired in 2004. His concluding essays became a key part of his CBS horse racing coverage and brought a humanity, eloquence, and dignity to the sport. Those segments helped me become a lifelong horse racing fan. 

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The most dominant individual sports performance Whitaker said he ever saw?  Secretariat’s 31-length win in the 1973 Belmont Stakes, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.   

Whitaker won an Eclipse Award for National Television Achievement in 1997, and in 2013 was presented the Jim McKay Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. In 2017, Whitaker was selected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor. 

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today:  Del Mar Thursday, Race 5 – Whispering Flames (No. 2). Two-year-olds going one mile on turf are a perfect scenario for major improvement.  Whispering Flames had a good turf sprint debut and galloped out strongly in a manner that suggests he may find his true calling routing on grass. At 5-1 on the morning line there is value on the stretch-out. 

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About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at

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