DEL MAR — Heart Of Joy opened an easy lead and won the $100,000 Palomar Handicap by three lengths on Saturday.
"It looked to me like there would be more (contention for the lead), trainer Gary Jones said, "but no one pressed us at all. I thought somebody would go with her, but I guess they thought they would just be beating themselves."
The victory was Jones' 16th of the meeting and gave him the lead by one over Mike Mitchell in the race for the trainers' title. It was Jones' first stakes victory of the meet.
Heart Of Joy, second behind Flawlessly in the Grade I Ramona Handicap, led by six lengths after half a mile under David Flores.
"I checked her up a bit after a half-mile," Flores said, "and then picked her up again with three-eighths to go and she caught right on again."
Heart Of Joy paid $4.60. Two longshots, Kalita Melody and Amal Hayati, finished second and third.
Earlier on the card, longshot Prying ($19.00) won the $60,000 Desert Trial after favored Fowda and second choice Interactive wore each other out on the pace. Sacramentada finished second, followed by Fowda and Interactive.
The $55,000 El Cajon was won by favored Pleasant Tango, who was coming off a victory in a $36,000 allowance race.
Beach Lights trailed by 13 lengths before rallying under Eddie Delahoussaye to win the $25,000 Riptide Starter Handicap.
Horse Racing Notes
If the morning line is any indication, today's Grade II Del Mar Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile is a wide open race. Siberian Summer, winner of this year's Strub at Santa Anita, is favored at 7-2. The second choice at 4-1 is Three Peat, a 4-year-old with a couple of Grade II stakes victories last year. Lottery Winner is the third pick at 9-2. Three Peat will probably be on or near the lead, probably with Portoferraio, with the other contenders coming from off the pace.
The field for Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity, the meet's closing day feature, is starting to fill up after looking very slim until late in the week. As of late Thursday, it appeared the race for the meet's 2-year-old championship would draw five entries. Since then, Al Renee and Mr. Wonder Boy have been supplemented at a cost of $10,000 each, and trainer Bruce Jackson is considering Advantage Miles, an unraced Florida-bred who was scratched from Saturday's sixth race to keep Futurity options open. The five who seemed set previously are Ramblin Guy, Ferrara, Creston, Winning Pact and Flying Sensation.
Pasadena-based Team Valor is considering several offers for Arlington Million winner Star Of Cozzene, who has five firsts and four seconds in nine starts this year, according to president Barry Irwin. One bidder is a Japanese group intent on shipping him for the Japan Cup. Team Valor's plans are to run him in the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Sept. 18 if that is not changed by a sale.