Delahoussaye Wins Some, Loses Some in Mixed Day at Del Mar
During Eddie Delahoussaye’s 21 years of riding race horses, he has felt all the emotions you can in the sport.
But he hardly expected to experience every one during Wednesday’s opening of Del Mar’s 50th season.
His day began with grief when he learned of a serious injury to Magical Mile, the unbeaten 2-year-old that Delahoussaye had guided to victory Saturday in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
Grief turned to shock when Delahoussaye opened his racing day by riding Silent Mandate, a 25-1 longshot, to victory in the first race. Silent Mandate paid $53.80.
“I was surprised,” he said. “I thought we had a chance, but in racing you never know.’
In the fourth, Delahoussaye sensed he had a pretty good chance to win and did, riding B.J. Bucks, trained by Danny Velasquez, to a 2 3/4-length victory. B.J. Bucks went off at 6-1 and paid $15.60.
One race later, Delahoussaye began wishing the day would never end after he guided Exemplary Leader to a photo-finish victory over Trebizond in the first division of the $68,0870 Oceanside Stakes.
“He ran good on the turf before,” Delahoussaye said. ‘He was trying to get out a little on the last turn and finally switched leads in the stretch.”
After the race, Delahoussaye was presented with a trophy that commemorated his 4,000th career victory, which he attained last year at Del Mar.
“That was nice and something I didn’t expect,” said Delahoussaye, a native of Louisiana who won his first recognizable race at Evangeline Downs in the southern part of that state.
But in a sport to which he has given more than half his 39 years, Delahoussaye has become accustomed to expecting the unexpected. Take for instance the unkind injury to Magical Mile. The fractured knee Magical Mile suffered in Saturday’s race will keep him out the remainder of the 2-year-old season.
“It’s too bad,” Delahoussaye said. “He acted like he had the temperment to go a mile or longer. He showed that he’s a strong colt.”
In 1983, another promising colt who had run well under Delahoussaye as a 2-year-old, Roving Boy, looked strong until he was injured months before the Kentucky Derby.
‘It just happens,” Delahoussaye said. “It’s one of those things that you have to accept.”
But injuries to horses have not been the only cause of pain for Delahoussaye over the years.
Three years ago at Del Mar, he was buried in a spill and bruised his back badly. In 1983 at Del Mar, he was kicked in his hip while in the paddock.
“It sounded like a shot gun,” he said with a wince. “I was hit in the muscle, and I was black and blue over my entire body.”
Although his body is healed, Delahoussaye felt it necessary to knock on wood twice as he spoke about the upcoming Del Mar season.
“It’s great here,” he said. “Santa Anita would be too hard on you with the smog and everything. But down here, the weather’s nice, it’s a great atmosphere, and it’s a different type crowd.”
“There are a lot more younger people here. Not to take anything away from the old people, but I like being around all the young faces.”
Delahoussaye’s good feelings ended in the fifth Wednesday; he was unable to win any of his last four starts. He came closest to his fourth victory in the second division of the Oceanside Stakes but came up 1 1/2 lengths short of Hawkster while riding Lode.
“He ran good,” Delahoussaye said of his 3-year-old. “The other horse was getting out all the way on the first turn and still just shot by him. I think you’ll see a better race next time.”