DEL MAR : My Style Adds to Vienna’s Stature as Hottest Trainer of the Meeting


My Style, an Irish-bred 5-year-old who arrived here only last week, scooted past Forty Niner Days and Super May in midstretch and scored 2 3/4-length upset victory Monday in the $300,000 Del Mar Handicap.

The victory, worth $165,000, did nothing to diminish Darrell Vienna’s standing as the hottest trainer on the grounds. Vienna won three races in one day last week, and My Style’s victory was Vienna’s sixth with the last 15 horses he has run at Del Mar.

Kent Desormeaux, who rode My Style, escaped serious injury in the ninth race when his mount, Grandiflora, stumbled over It’s First Advance on the far turn. Desormeaux, dropped to the ground, walked off. It’s First Advance, who clipped heels of a horse in front to cause the accident, died of a broken neck.

It’s First Advance’s jockey, Jesus Castanon, escaped injury.


In the Del Mar Handicap, My Style was in sixth place most of the way but never far from the leaders, who were Forty Niner Days, Missionary Ridge and Aksar.

“When the other horses picked it up, he picked up,” Desormeaux said of My Style. “On the backstretch, I got him up in the pocket so he’d be close enough. Then I showed him daylight and he cut. He’s a nice horse, a very nice horse. They’re over there talking Breeders’ Cup about him right now.”

Forty Niner Days finished second, 1 3/4 lengths better than Super May. Favored Black Monday ran sixth.

My Style, who is owned by scriptwriter David Milch, was timed in 2:13 1/5 for 1 3/8 miles, a fifth of a second slower than the track and stakes record set by Live The Dream last year. My Style carried 115 pounds, three less than top-weighted Forty Niner Days, and paid 24.80 to win.


The field was reduced to nine starters when Bequest, who would have been the only female in the race, was scratched by trainer Neil Drysdale.

Racing in France, Germany and Switzerland, My Style came into Monday with four wins, four seconds and three thirds in 16 starts. In one race, he earned about $30,000 more than he had in his career.

“I bought him from Hubert Guy, who recommended him as a horse that could win this race,” Vienna said. “I’ve bought many horses from him and this is the best one. Jean De Raualle (a French trainer) got him ready for the race over there. He’ll share in the rewards of this win.”

Tucker Slender, Del Mar’s official starter, partly agreed with jockey Alex Solis, who said that Brought To Mind’s head was turned when the gate latch was sprung in Sunday’s Chula Vista Handicap. Solis questioned why the gate was opened at that point. Brought To Mind, the second betting choice behind Lite Light, hopped in the air leaving the gate and after struggling to make the lead, finished fourth as Vieille Vigne, at 19-1, won the Chula Vista. Lite Light was another disappointment in the race, running third.


“The filly turned her head, but it was just in a flash and I felt there was nothing I could do about it,” Slender said. “She’s not the best post mare, but she was all right Sunday, standing OK until the horse next to her (Cascading Gold) kicked. That rocked Solis’ mount.”

Cascading Gold, a Mr. Prospector mare who won the Rancho Bernardo Breeders’ Cup Handicap in her previous start, broke down on the backstretch. She fractured a sesamoid bone in her left foreleg and will undergo surgery today.

Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Lite Light, was running horses at Bay Meadows Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment, but Gary Jones heard that the filly’s owners are still planning to run her in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 22. Jones trains Best Pal, who is a definite for the $1-million race, along with Corporate Report, the winner of the Travers.

Best Pal, winner of the $1-million Pacific Classic at Del Mar, worked five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 between races Monday, with regular rider Pat Valenzuela aboard. Best Pal covered the final furlong in 11 1/5 seconds. “That was a good way for him to finish,” Jones said. “You like to see a horse finish up that way when you’re getting him ready to run a mile and a quarter.”


Horse Racing Notes

Mane Minister, who ran last in the La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 4 after finishing third in all three Triple Crown races, has a torn suspensory ligament in his left foreleg, and his career is probably finished. Mane Minister’s owners, John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery, will evaluate the colt’s condition in six months before deciding whether they send him to stud.

Mane Minister was running second in the early stages of the La Jolla when he jumped a path on Del Mar’s turf course and dropped out of contention. He favored the leg afterwards. Del Mar officials have said that the path, which gave other horses problems during the meet, was caused by activity during the Del Mar fair which preceded the racing season.

The Toffan-McCaffery barn and trainer Paco Gonzalez were able to reach the winner’s circle Monday when their 3-year-old filly, Nice Assay, scored at upset in the $56,500 June Darling Handicap. Nice Assay, paying $15.20 to win, passed Bel’s Starlet in the final strides to win the 6 1/2-furlong race by a head. The win was the third of the day for Laffit Pincay, just back from Chicago, where he won Sunday’s Arlington Million aboard Tight Spot. . . . Akinemod, the Jack Klugman-owned 4-5 favorite making her first start in almost 20 months, was in contention early but was squeezed by Suziqcute on the backstretch, and after she lugged out on the far turn, jockey Gary Stevens just galloped her across the finish line. Stevens claimed foul against Suziqcute and her rider, Corey Nakatani, and the stewards disqualified them from fifth to last in the six-horse field. Akinemod had won six in a row before an infection threatened to end her career at Santa Anita in the winter of 1990.