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2015 San Diego Handicap Day


Gary Stevens aboard Catch a Flight after winning the 2015 San Diego Handicap
Date: 07/25/2015

The feature race on Saturday at Del Mar was the $200,000 San Diego Handicap (G2) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Conditions were excellent at the seaside oval for the 30,049 fans in attendance, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's. Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 7 off his last place finish in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Hoppertunity, second in the Gold Cup (G1) after finishing third in the Stephen Foster (G1), and 3-1 third choice Catch a Flight, third in the Gold Cup and the Santa Anita Handicap (G1).

Catch a Flight closes in the center down the stretch

Bayern and 10-1 Appealing Tale dueled on the front end through fractions of 24.06, 47.80, and 1:11.30 while stalked by Catch a Flight sitting third. Appealing Tale gained a short lead in the stretch through 1 mile in 1:36.34, but Catch a Flight rallied late to get up by a head in 1:43.08. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to favorite Bayern third.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey        Win  Place  Show
 6   Catch a Flight   Stevens        8.40   3.80  2.80
 2   Appealing Tale   Talamo                6.80  4.40
 4   Bayern           Garcia                      3.00

Winning Time:  1:36.34

$1 Exacta 6-2                24.00
$2 Quinella 2-6              30.40
$1 Trifecta 6-2-4           108.10
$1 Superfecta 6-2-4-3       175.30
Results Chart

Left: Catch a Flight in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Richard Mandella said, "He won a lot of races in Brazil, not against the highest competition, but it gave him a good bit of experience. He came here and he just keeps getting better and better. He was meant to sit back, but it looked like they were kind of getting away from him at the last turn and I was a little worried. But I guess they used themselves enough that he caught them. The Pacific Classic is next."

Right: Catch a Flight in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Gary Stevens said, "He warmed up differently today. He was chilled out. He must like this Del Mar weather. I had real confidence in him today. He's run in the U.S. seven times now against good horses and he's shown up every time. He's a treat. We got the great set-up today and I rode him better (than last time in the Gold Cup when he finished third). I think this race should set him up nicely for the Pacific Classic. I don't think distance is a big thing with this horse; he can handle that. He just needs the set up, and we got it today. I could see Martin (Garcia on Bayern) was out of horse at the 3/8. I was just hoping that Joe (Talamo on Appealing Tale) would come back to me. He did, just enough and my horse was good enough."

Left: Second place finisher Appealing Tale in the paddock before the race. Jockey Joe Talamo said, "Brutal. Just a brutal loss."

Right: Third place finisher Bayern in the paddock before the race. Jockey Martin Garcia said, "He didn't try. I don't know if something's wrong, but he didn't try."



Big Book wins the Fleet Treat Stakes

Earlier in the card, a field of 6 California-bred or sired 3-year-old fillies sprinted 7 furlongs in the $200,000 Fleet Treat Stakes. Jockey Joe Talamo sent 14-1 Patsy G and Me to the lead through fractions of 22.64 and 45.69 before she tired to finish last. 8-1 Kiss at Midnight gained a short lead in the stretch through 3/4 in 1:11.70,, but 7-2 Big Book came through between horses to win by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:24.77. It was another 1/2 length back to 7-10 favorite Sheer Pleasure third.

Results Chart


Big Book in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Tim Yakteen said, "It was a moderate pace and I think that's why they all lined up (in the early going). When you've got Rafael (Bejarano) riding you don't need to give him directions and he knew what to do. She didn't run as a 2-year-old because she's a big filly and she needed time to mature and grow into herself."

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