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Advancing Star Gets the Win and Desormeaux Gets Even

Del Mar: Jockey catches Solis in standings with less than week to go in meeting.


DEL MAR — Advancing Star isn't the most reliable filly in the world, but she can be extremely difficult to beat.

Wednesday was a good day for the 4-year-old Soviet Star filly. Breaking fairly well from the rail and helped when Pareja wiped out almost everybody outside of her, the 5-2 second choice ran the fastest six furlongs of the meeting--1:08 2/5--in capturing the $71,355 June Darling.

Owned by John and Betty Mabee's Golden Eagle Farm and trained by Richard Mandella, Advancing Star beat heavily favored Madame Pandit by five lengths under Kent Desormeaux for her sixth victory in 15 lifetime starts.

It was only her second victory in seven tries in 1997, but she was able to take the lead because of a rapid opening quarter (21 2/5) and she runs her best when she's in front.

Her victory was one of two for Desormeaux on Wednesday, enabling him to tie Alex Solis, who is trying to win his seventh consecutive title at the three major Southern California tracks--Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar. Both have 34 victories, two more than Eddie Delahoussaye, who won Wednesday with Enabru in the third and Zacks Buckaroo in the sixth.


Lakota Brave, winner of perhaps the most entertaining race of the meeting Aug. 15, is the 9-5 favorite for today's $70,000-added Crazy Kid Handicap at six furlongs.

An 8-year-old gelding who has raced only 16 times, Lakota Brave last month made his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last year.

Ridden by Delahoussaye, who is back aboard today, he battled on the lead throughout, then held off two other old pros, Criollito and Letthebighossroll, to win by a half-length in 1:08 3/5.

For the son of Northern Prospect, who is trained by Bruce Headley, who also owns him in partnership, it was his fifth victory in seven starts at Del Mar. He was second in both of his losses, including a neck loss to Letthebighossroll in last year's Crazy Kid.


Handlers of Shellbacks will be sorry to see Del Mar end in six days.

A winner only twice in his first 12 starts, the 3-year-old gelding made it three victories in as many outings at the meeting Wednesday.

Running for Meadowbrook Farms and trainer David La Croix, Shellbacks found a home on the Del Mar lawn. In his first try on the course, he won by seven lengths, then came back to score by a half-length when overcoming some early trouble. He clicked again Wednesday as the odds-on choice under apprentice J.G. Matos.

A son of Din's Dancer, Shellbacks will go for new connections when he next appears. He was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Eduardo Inda for owner Barry Schwartz.

Horse Racing Notes

Jockey Pat Valenzuela, who was given a five-day suspension nearly two weeks ago for failing to show up for his mounts, was off again Wednesday. According to stewards Dave Samuels and George Slender, the newly married Valenzuela, 34, said he didn't want to ride again until "he got his weight down" and he also said he wanted to see his father, who is ill. . . . Jockey Antonio Castanon, a former regular on the local circuit, is back in California and Don Pierce, who also serves as Valenzuela's agent, will book his mounts. . . . Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., who is three victories from tying Bill Shoemaker as the all-time winningest rider at Del Mar, had three victories at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash., on Sunday.

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