Juan Hernandez celebrates aboard Express Train after winning the 2021 San Diego Handicap.
The feature race on the first Saturday of the Del Mar summer meet was the $250,000 San Diego Handicap (G2) for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on the main track as the main local prep for the Pacific Classic. Conditions were excellent at the seaside oval with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70's for the 11,765 fans in attendance. Californian Stakes (G2) winner Royal Ship was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 8 off his close second place finish in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1). In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Express Train, 3rd in both the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Hollywood Gold Cup, and 3-1 third choice Rushie, 4th in the Hollywood Gold Cup after finishing 2nd in the Oaklawn Mile.
Down the stretch in the San Diego Handicap.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Express Train Hernandez 7.80 4.60 2.80 8 Tripoli Pereira 7.80 4.20 4 Royal Ship Smith 2.60 Winning Time: 1:43.37 $1 Exacta 5-8 25.40 $2 Quinella 5-8 42.40 $0.50 Trifecta 5-8-4 39.75 $0.10 Superfecta 5-8-4-6 43.43Results Chart
Left: Express Train in the winner's circle. Winning trainer John Shirreffs said, "I thought he was in a good spot the whole way, right off Rushie and then when he was asked in the stretch he responded well. The Pacific Classic, that would be the goal if everything works out."
Right: Express Train in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Juan Hernandez said, "He broke real sharp today and that was the key. I stayed aggressive with him; he likes it and runs well when you do. We had a good spot until the quarter pole and then I really got after him. He was responding well and then those other horse came up on him and he dug in again. He's a tough one."
Left: Second place finisher Tripoli in the post parade. The John Sadler trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 13 starts, earning $211,960 for owner Hronis Racing.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Royal Ship in the paddock before the race. The Richard Mandella trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 14 starts, earning $293,305 for owners Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farm.
Ippodamia's Girl wins the Osunitas Stakes
30-1 longest shot Dynasty of Her Own dueled with 11-1 Nasty for the first 3/4 mile through fractions of 22.90, 46.46, and 1:10.90 while stalked by 12-1 Candura and 13-1 Heathers Grey. Turning for home Nasty led to the 1/8 pole through 7f in 1:23.40 before tiring badly. 6-1 Ippodamia's Girl, 7th early, came out 5 wide under jockey Joe Bravo and outfinished Brooke to win by 1/2 a length in 1:35.30. It was a neck back to late-running favorite Tapwater third.
Ippodamia's Girl in the winner's circle. The Richard Baltas trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 17 starts, earning $261,072 for owner-breeder George and Martha Schwary.
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