DEL MAR — Trainer Charlie Whittingham proved before the race how confident he was in Lively One's chances to win Saturday's $212,800 Cabrillo Handicap.
He scratched You're No Bargain, who figured to battle Speedratic for the lead and set up the finish for Lively One.
"Don't need him," Whittingham said before the race. "Besides, I don't want anyone saying my other horse needed something to soften up the pace for him."
Gary Stevens took Speedratic out to an easy lead, but Lively One ran him down with a final furlong in barely 11 seconds.
Favored at 2-5, Lively One finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Speedratic.
"We just got outrun," said Stevens, who restrained Speedratic through an opening half-mile in :47 1/5. Under normal circumstances, such a slow pace would put most front-runners in the winner's circle.
But Lively One has shown new life this summer for Whittingham, adding the 1 1/8-mile Cabrillo to his victory in the Aug. 5 San Diego Handicap.
Before that, the son of Halo had gone for more than a year without winning a stake.
On paper, Lively One outclassed his four Cabrillo rivals. But his jockey, Robbie Davis, was far from encouraged as the field entered the stretch.
"My heart was pumping turning for home," said Davis. "That other horse (Speedratic) was hanging in game. Around the turn, I thought he'd come back to me, but instead he opened up."
Davis went to work on Lively One with a right-handed whip and got an immediate response. The 4-year-old colt kicked into another gear and passed Speedratic without a battle.
Putting, a French turf horse making only his second start on the dirt, closed well along the inside to be third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Speedratic. Honor Medal was fourth and Rogue's Realm completed the field.
Lively One was timed in 1:47 and paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10, causing a minus show pool that cost the track $2,311.
Whittingham was not sure what Lively One would be doing next, but another shot in the Breeders' Cup Classic later in the year is a definite possibility. The colt ran eighth in that race last year.
"This might have been the best race he ever ran," Whittingham said. "And he's getting better and better."
Horse Racing Notes
Gary Stevens fell twice Saturday, in the first race immediately after the start and in the second race, approaching the far turn, when a horse in front of him clipped heels and fell. "It had been awhile since I'd gone down," Stevens said. "I was trying to make up for it all at once." Depsite suffering a deep bruise on his right upper arm, Stevens bounced back to win the third race on Stormy But Valid and later took the ninth on Spirit Bay.
Apprentice Tony Guymon, whose mount triggered the second race spill, suffered a broken collarbone in the incident. Fernando Valenzuela also went down in the second race, but was unhurt. . . . Darrel McHargue, the Eclipse Award-winning jockey of 1978, has his first assignment as a steward at Turf Paradise in Phoenix beginning Oct. 6. McHargue is a patrol judge at Del Mar. . . . San Clemente Handicap winner Darby's Daughter heads a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in today's Del Mar Oaks. The opposition includes Stylish Star, General Charge, Kelly, Bel Darling, Double Diplomat, Tapping Tudor and Black Stockings and the maiden Noble and Nice.