Declan’s Moon Returns to Scene of First Triumph
The $1-million Pacific Classic isn’t the only graded stakes on tap today at Del Mar.
A solid field of eight sprinters will get together at seven furlongs in the $300,000 Pat O’Brien Breeders’ Cup Handicap.
The Grade II marks the return to Del Mar of Declan’s Moon, and it was by the beach where the Malibu Moon gelding first rose to prominence in 2004.
After beating maidens by five lengths in his debut on July 31 of that year, Declan’s Moon, who is owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, upset Roman Ruler in the Del Mar Futurity some five weeks later.
The Maryland-bred went on to win the Hollywood Prevue and Hollywood Futurity and win the Eclipse Award as the top 2-year-old but has made only two starts as a 3- and 4-year-old.
Beaten by a nose as the 2-5 favorite in his comeback on July 16, Declan’s Moon will break from the outside in the O’Brien and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard for five of his six races.
The other top contenders are Siren Lure, who has won 11 of 19 and comes off a win at the O’Brien distance in the Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade I, on July 2 at Hollywood Park, and Pure As Gold, who won the Bing Crosby at 23-1 on July 30.
Race of the day: Quiet Cash, who was second in the 2005 Longacres Mile, is back for another shot at the Grade III today at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash. A winner of nine of 22, Quiet Cash, a 5-year-old son of Real Quiet, will be ridden by Chad Hoverson against a field that includes Papi Chullo, Flamethrowintexan, Royal Place and Southern Africa.
One for the road: Sky High Flyer had a troubled trip when fourth in the Mint Julep on June 17 at Churchill Downs and can win for the third time in her career in the ninth race today at Saratoga. The 4-year-old Anabaa filly is trained by Bobby Frankel and will be ridden by Edgar Prado in the $53,000 allowance at one mile.
Exotically speaking: A pick three using Excessiveobsession in the second; Malt Magic, Bertie Boy and Swiss Ski in the third; and Step Over, Big Mistake and The Big One in the fourth.
Winners: (previous day/meet total): 3/76. Money: (previous day/meet total): $15.60/$418.60. Total money bet: $476.