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2019 Pat O'Brien Stakes

Flavien Prat aboard Catalina Cruiser after winning the 2019 Pat O'Brien Stakes
Date: 08/24/2019

The feature race at Del Mar on Saturday was the $200,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) for older horses sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track and is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Dirt Mile. Conditions were excellent with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70's for the 12,530 fans in attendance. After 1 scratch a field of 6 went to post with last year's winner Catalina Cruiser sent off as the 1-2 favorite off wins in the True North (G2) and San Diego Handicap (G2). In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Giant Expectations off a close second in the Commentator Stakes, and 11-2 third choice American Anthem, an allowance winner after finishing 4th in the Triple Bend (G2).

Catalina Cruiser rallies to catch Giant Expectations in the stretch
American Anthem was quickest out of the chute through an opening quarter in 22.13 while pressed by 11-1 Jalen Journey and stalked by 34-1 Chief Cicatriz. Jalen Journey poked his head in front on the far turn through a half in 44.52. Turning for home, jockey Drayden Van Dyke angled Giant Expectations wide to sweep to the front from last midstretch through 3/4 in 1:09.36. However, Catalina Cruiser, 4th early under new jockey Flavien Prat, came into the lane 4 wide and rallied to catch Giant Expectations late to win by a head in 1:22.00. It was a long 4 3/4 lengths back to American Anthem third.

Pgm  Horse                 Jockey        Win  Place  Show
 7   Catalina Cruiser    Prat           3.00   2.20  2.10 
 4   Giant Expectations  Van Dyke              3.40  2.80
 6   American Anthem     Bejarano                    2.60

Winning Time:  1:22.00

$1 Exacta 7-4                 4.10
$2 Quinella 4-7               6.60
$0.50 Trifecta 7-4-6          5.10
$1 Superfecta 7-4-6-3        18.40
Results Chart

Left: Catalina Cruiser in the winner's circle. Winning trainer John Sadler said, "I think he ran a really good Beyer, a really good Ragozin figure. That's a fast race, I could tell, on this track. He was wide all the way, was involved in the running all the way, so I was really pleased. He's a big horse and he's got a big heart; I really thought that (when headed in the stretch) he would fight."

Right: Catalina Cruiser in the paddock. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "We were wide (through the first four furlongs), but I was comfortable. He was going easy. At the quarter pole, Giant Expectations made a good move to get by me. He was in front but my horse fought back. He accelerated and ran well to win."

Left: Second place finisher Giant Expectations heads into the post parade. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke said, "He made the lead (in the stretch). We were a head in front. He ran great. Tough loss."

Right: Third place finisher American Anthem returns after the race. Jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "My horse broke good and I was in a good position. He ran well, but the two best horses beat me today."

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