DEL MAR — Ladies Din will try to do what Fantastic Fellow couldn't do a year ago in today's $300,000 Del Mar Derby.
After winning a division of the Oceanside Stakes and the La Jolla Handicap, Fantastic Fellow weakened to finish fourth in the Del Mar Derby, thus failing to become only the second horse to sweep the Oceanside, La Jolla and Del Mar Derby.
Lightning Mandate is the only 3-year-old to accomplish that feat, having done so in 1974 for trainer Farrell Jones. Ladies Din, who is the 9-5 favorite in the Grade II race, will be trying to match him today.
Owned by Terry Lanni, Bernie Schiappa and Mike Sloan and trained by Julio Canani, Ladies Din will have nine opponents in the 1 1/8-mile Derby as he tries to remain unbeaten on the Del Mar turf. He broke his maiden over the course as a 2-year-old.
With Gary Stevens sidelined, Kent Desormeaux has picked up the mount on the gelded son of Din's Dancer, who will be challenged by Lucayan Indian, Takarian, Prevalence, Expressionist, Lord Smith, Scooter Brown, Andy Dufresne, Keene Dancer and Success And Glory.
The Derby is part of the Coast-to-Coast Triple, an exotic wager which is being offered as part of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's America's Day at the Races. In order to win, a bettor has to pick the winner of the Derby, the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park and the Cradle Stakes at River Downs in Cincinnati.
Three things that were supposed to take place on Sunday did.
The sun came up, the Chicago Bears lost their season opener and Old Trieste won the $205,200 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Taking on only three suspect rivals, the prohibitive 1-5 favorite easily made the lead under jockey Chris McCarron and from there the only questions were what the margin of victory would be, the final time and his exacta partner.
In order, the 3-year-old son of A.P. Indy won by five lengths, he completed the mile in 1:35 1/5, and Grajagan, the longest shot in the field at 12-1, was second, ahead of Stalwart Tsu and Young At Heart. Christmas Boy was scratched.
Horse Racing Notes
Del Mar will offer a $2.5-million guaranteed Pick Six pool today and there is a carryover more than $236,000 going in. The Pick Six is on races 5-10. . . . Memories Of Silver remained unbeaten in 1998 with a win in the $300,000 Diana Handicap at Saratoga. . . . Controlled, who broke her maiden easily in her debut earlier in the meeting, is the 9-5 favorite in the day's other stakes, the $100,000 Generous Portion at 5 1/2 furlongs. . . . Chris McCarron has three stakes wins in the last two days. He won the Del Mar Handicap on Saturday with Bonapartiste and, in addition to Old Trieste, he rode Magical Allure to victory in Torrey Pines Handicap on Sunday. Magical Allure is unbeaten in five starts for owners John and Betty Mabee and trainer Bob Baffert.