Umberto Rispoli aboard Anisette after winning the 2023 Del Mar Oaks
The highlight race at Del Mar on Saturday was the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante turf course. Conditions were excellent in San Diego County with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70's for the 11,452 fans in attendance just a day before Hurricane Hilary arrives, with Sunday's card already cancelled for safety reasons. Anisette was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of 10, winner of her last 3 starts including the San Clemente (G2). In to challenge her included 5-1 second choice And Tell Me Nolies, winless since October and third in the San Clemente last out, and 15-2 third choice Be Your Best, 9th in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) after just missing in the Wonder Again (G2).
Anisette leads down the stretch in the Del Mar Oaks
Jockey Edwin Maldonado sent 10-1 fifth choice Ruby Nell to the lead out of the chute first time by through fractions of 23.84, 47.21, and 1:11.92 while pressed by 21-1 Big Pond and stalked by 69-1 longest shot Absolutely Zero and 18-1 Infinite Diamond. Turning for home, Ruby Nell continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.60 before tiring. Favorite Anisette, last early under Umberto Rispoli, came through on the inside to win going away by 2 3/4 lengths over Be Your Best in 1:48.15. It was a neck back to 17-2 fourth choice Impact Warrior third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Anisette Rispoli 3.60 2.80 2.60 9 Be Your Best Hernandez 5.20 4.00 6 Impact Warrior Desormeaux 4.00 Winning Time: 1:48.15 $1 Exacta 5-9 9.40 $2 Quinella 5-9 15.20 $1 Trifecta 5-9-6 38.20 $1 Superfecta 5-9-6-4 178.60Results Chart
Left: Anisette in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Leonard Powell said, "She's been very straightforward since we got her. She's like a little moped. You can put her wherever you want. She's got a great quality in that she's got two or three moves in a race, not only one move. That's a great help for a jockey. Her turn of foot made the difference at the top of the lane. I didn't think we'd be so far back, especially with a half mile in :47, but she was good enough to overcome that and close the ground."
Right: Anisette in the paddock. Winning jockey Umberto Rispoli said, "I had a good feeling when I rode her in the San Clemente, and I knew wherever I could be today, it wouldn't be an issue," Rispoli said. "Sometimes you think it's better to be close or midpack. Today she was a little bit on her toes, and she broke out of the gate like a real miler. That's why I decided to take her back, and she switched off right away. Obviously, the pace didn't help me.
Left: Second place finisher Be Your Best in the paddock before the race. Jockey Juan Hernandez said, "My filly ran great. She gave a lot of effort. I'm happy with my filly and the way she ran. We have no excuses."
Right: Third place finisher Impact Warrior in the paddock. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved her record to 1 win, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 6 starts, earning $74,563 for owner Martin Schwartz.
Retired jockey Fernando Toro was presented his Hall of Fame jacket and plaque today at Del Mar. Here he is with fellow Hall of Famers Laffit Pincay and Julie Krone. Toro did not fly to Saratoga Springs for his official induction at the National Museum and Hall of Fame because he wanted his family to be present. He won 3,555 races, 136 in stakes, with purse earnings of $56,299,765, starting in his native Chile before moving his tack to the U.S. in 1966. Arguably his best horse was fellow Hall of Famer Royal Heroine, who he rode regularly for trainer John Gosden including winning the inaugural Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) at Hollywood Park.
He said, "I've been thinking about this since the time I retired in 1990. People kept asking me: 'Why you not in the Hall of Fame?' I didn't know what to say, I never had the right answer. I was nominated about five times. For a while, I gave up. I told myself 'I'm not going to let it bother me anymore.' I didn't want to answer any more questions about it. I have a consolation for what I did in my profession. I rode against the best jockey colony in the nation, probably in the world at that time. And I did pretty good. I'm not complaining. I don't want to change places with nobody. Now this Hall of Fame deal, if I deserve it then I think somebody is going to give it to me. If not, that's fine. I can't live just thinking about it."
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