Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index

2023 San Diego Handicap Day


Senor Buscador gets a pat from Geovanni Franco after winning the 2023 San Diego Handicap.
Date: 07/29/2023

The feature race on the second Saturday of the Del Mar summer meet was the $300,000 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 partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70's for the 12,892 fans in attendance. Defunded was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of 9 off wins in the Californian (G2) and Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita. In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Slow Down Andy, 6th in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) after finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and 7-1 third choice Royal Ship, second in the Californian before disappointing 5th in the All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Down the stretch in the San Diego Handicap.

Jockey Umberto Rispoli sent 14-1 Brickyard Ride to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.03, 46.30, and 1:10.36 while pressed by Slow Down Andy and stalked by 10-1 fourth choice Missed the Cut. Turning for home Brickyard Ride continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:35.95. 13-1 fifth choice Senor Buscador, last early under Geovanni Franco, came out 5 wide to circle the field and rallied to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths over Slow Down Andy in 1:42.54. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Brickyard Ride third, and 1/2 a length more to late-running favorite Defunded fourth.

Pgm  Horse               Jockey        Win  Place  Show
 7   Senor Buscador    Franco        29.00  10.60  7.00
 1   Slow Down Andy    Gutierrez             4.80  3.80
10   Brickyard Ride    Rispoli                     8.00

Winning Time:  1:42.54

$1 Exacta 7-1                70.20
$2 Quinella 1-7              71.80
$0.50 Trifecta 7-1-10       486.70
$0.10 Superfecta 7-1-10-6   241.14
Results Chart

Left: Senor Buscador in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Fincher said, "We nominated to the Bing Crosby, this, and the Eddie Read. This horse is super talented, the most talented horse I've ever trained, but he has his quirks, he needs a setup. I told (Franco) to just let the horse do his thing, don't panic and start riding early. He's got one strong kick. He'll start picking them up at the half mile pole on his own. Wait as long as you can then push the button. He'll never do anything but fall back out of the gate so we needed a good set-up."

Right: Senor Buscador in the post parade. Winning jockey Geovanni Franco said, "I had a really good trip. The trainer told me he liked to be outside away from horses when it came time to run. So early on I had a good spot inside; they were all coming together and we just stayed back on the rail. Then on the backside I eased him out toward the middle and we were going easy. When I asked him at the 3/8 (pole), he just went. He really dug in. We got it done." Owner-breeder Joseph Peacock added, "He's had so many setbacks, so much bad luck. And we were just very patient with him because he has a ton of talent and we just knew eventually he would show up on the right day and it looks like today was one of those."

Left: Second place finisher Slow Down Andy in the paddock before the race. The Doug O'Neill trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 12 starts, earning $976,600 for owner-breeder Reddam Racing.

Right: Third place finisher Brickyard Ride in the paddock before the race. The Craig Lewis trainee improved his record to 13 wins, 1 second, and 5 thirds in 27 starts, earning $864,977 for owner-breeder Alfred Pais.


Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Defunded returns after the race. The Bob Baffert trainee has a record of 7 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 18 starts, earning $1,606,100 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.



The Chosen Vron wins the Bing Crosby Stakes

An hour after the San Diego Handicap, the $400,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) featured a field of 12 older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track seeking automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita under the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" promotion. Last year's winner Dr. Schivel was sent off as the 9-5 favorite off his 5th place finish in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) after finishing third in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) and winning an allowance at Santa Anita. In to challenge him included 4-1 second choice Spirit of Makena, winner of the San Carlos (G3) and Triple Bend (G2), and 9-2 third choice The Chosen Vron, off a 7-race win streal all in California-bred stakes company including the Thor's Echo last out.

Jockey Antonio Fresu sent 15-1 Peaceful Waters to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 21.92 and 44.42 while pressed by 62-1 longest shot Todo FIno and stalked by 33-1 Kid Corleone and 8-1 fourth choice Anarchist. On the far turn Peaceful Waters tired badly as favorite Dr. Schivel, 5th early, inherited the lead through 5f in 56.69. The Chosen Vron, 6th early under Hector Berrios, came through between horses late to win by a head over late-running Anarchist in 1:09.24. It was another head back to Dr. Schivel third.

Results Chart

Left: The Chosen Vron in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Eric Kruljac said, "He stepped up. If the next Cal-bred race had been on the dirt I probably would not have gone today. I went back and forth and my foreman told me he would shoot me if I didn't run. So I thought we might take a shot." Co-owner Richard Thornburgh added, "He's the most courageous horse I've ever seen. I wanted to see what he could do against the big boys, and he proved what kind of horse he really is."

Right: The Chosen Vron gets a kiss after the race. Winning jockey Hector Berrios said, "Yes, we had trouble (approaching the far turn). I had to pull back and go outside. I got bumped. But this horse is special; he just runs and I love to ride him. He's very game and he makes it fun."

Left: Second place finisher Anarchist in the paddock. The Doug O'Neill trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 7 seconds, and 0 thirds in 11 starts, earning $310,508 for owner Ilium Stables.

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Dr. Schivel in the paddock. The Mark Glatt trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 13 starts, earning $1,207,100 for owners Red Baron's Barn, Rancho Temescal, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, and William Branch.

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