Del Mar statistics increase from 2017
September 05, 2018 3:00 AM
by Jon Lindo
There were plenty of highlights from what was an excellent meet from start to finish at Del Mar this summer. Some of the biggest positives:
• Field size. Del Mar averaged 8.7 horses per race, up from 8.6 horses in 2017. Field size drives competition which in turn drives handle. As a result, handle will be up nearly 7 percent over 2017 when the final totals come out.
• Trainers Peter Miller and John Sadler. Miller won 31 races during the 36 day meet and was strong from start to finish while winning his third Del Mar summer training title. Sadler won eight Stakes races, including the Pacific Classic with Accelerate and the Pat O’Brien and San Diego Handicap with Catalina Cruiser.
• Jockeys Drayden Van Dyke and Flavien Prat. Both young riders put on a show. Van Dyke won his first major SoCal riding title riding many promising 2-year-olds for trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and Bob Baffert in the process. Prat showed again he rides the turf as well as anybody in the jockey colony.
• Owners Hronis Racing. The brothers Pete and Kosta Hronis won five Stakes races with trainer John Sadler. In addition to Accelerate and Catalina Cruiser, they own Rancho Bernardo Stakes winner Yuvetsi and Tranquility Lake Stakes winner Shenandoah Queen. Hronis racing won 11 races for the meet to lead all owners.
• Track safety. There was not one fatality due to injury during live racing until Sunday when Mz. Brown took a bad step in deep stretch. The main track was very deep and slow, but the result was a safer surface day in and day out during the entire meet.
Los Al starts Thursday: Racing shifts to Los Alamitos for their 12-day L.A. County Fair meet. If you are a fan of the old fashioned $2 Pick Six, Los Al is the only stop on the current SoCal circuit where you can play it. There is no jackpot format, and the 70 percent/30 percent split after takeout is what many long-time Pick Six players prefer. Santa Anita will experiment with a $.20 minimum Rainbow Pick Six similar to the Gulfstream Park format when their autumn meet opens Sept. 28.
Los Alamitos will also stick with the $1 minimum for their Pick Four wagers on races 2-5 and the last four races each day. An addition to their Stakes schedule is the $100,000 guaranteed Los Alamitos Special on Sept. 16. The race will be 1-1/4 miles for 3-year-olds and up.
Several veteran jockeys figure to be very motivated at Los Alamitos. Those coming off tough meets at Del Mar include Tyler Conner (5/95), Martin Pedroza (4/72), Stewart Elliot (3/88), and Edgar Payeras (0/59). Those totals do not include closing day Monday. Look for these guys to try and establish plenty of new business at Los Alamitos.
It is important to remember Los Alamitos stepped up when Hollywood Park closed and not only lengthened their track to one mile but added several hundred stalls to house thoroughbreds. Los Al made it possible to keep a year-round circuit in SoCal going and deserves the support of California horseplayers.
Man shot at Del Mar: Just as the horses for Sunday’s 10th and final race were crossing the finish line, shots rang out at Del Mar near the main entrance ticket booth.
A huge crowd was on scene for an after-the-races concert by Ice Cube, and the sellout forced Del Mar to cease selling admission tickets to the concert.
Daniel Elizarraras, 22, of Escondido, allegedly fired a gun after being told no more admission tickets were available for the concert.
Elizarraras was reported to be in stable condition Monday morning, was released from the hospital Monday afternoon, and was taken to the county jail.
The live broadcast on TVG had host Todd Schrupp saying “shots fired” multiple times as the horses for the final race crossed the wire. During the stretch run of the race, Toshio ducked out sharply and unseated leading rider Drayden Van Dyke, but the two incidents were not related. Van Dyke was able to work horses on Monday and fulfill his riding obligations on closing day.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s department, the California Highway Patrol, and Del Mar’s own track security were quickly on the scene to lock everything down.
The concert featuring Ice Cube went on as planned after a delay.
Play of the Week: Golden Gate Friday Race 5 – Desert Smoke (post 2). Mare from the high percentage Jonathon Wong stable looked good winning her only start on turf in June. Very positive sign that sharp barn does not risk her for a tag in return. William Antongeorgi gets the call.