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2023 Seabiscuit Handicap Results

Easter heads back to the barn after winning the Seabiscuit Handicap.
Date: 11/25/2023

The feature race on Thanksgiving Saturday of Del Mar's Bing Crosby Season was the $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) for older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the Jimmy Durante turf course. Conditions were excellent with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's for the 3,571 fans in attendance at the seaside oval. Last year's winner Hong Kong Harry was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the field of 8 off his win in the City of Hope Mile (G2) after finishing third in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita. In to challenge him included 8-5 second choice Easter, winner of the Lure Stakes last out, and 11-2 third choice Astronomer, 12th in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) after finishing a close second in the City of Hope Mile.

Easter rallies on the outside in the stretch

Jockey Edwin Maldonado sent 19-1 Sumter to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.10, 46.61, and 1:10.64, saving ground on the inside while pressed by 31-1 Cabo Spirit and stalked by Astronomer. Turning for home Sumter continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:39.96, before tiring. Easter, 6th early under Antonio Fresu, came out for room and outfinished Hong Kong Harry to win by 1/2 a length in 1:39.96, just 0.46 seconds off the course record. It was another 1/2 length back to late-closing 10-1 Balnikhov third.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place   Show
 2   Easter             Fresu         5.40    3.00   2.40 
 4   Hong Kong Harry    Hernandez             2.60   2.10 
 3   Balnikhov          Berrios                      3.20    

Winning Time:  1:39.96  

$1 Exacta 2-4                   5.50
$2 Quinella 2-4                 5.60
$1 Trifecta 2-4-3              19.20
$1 Superfecta 2-4-3-1         111.30
Full results chart

Left: Easter in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato, who swept the trifecta said, "I inherited a nice horse, and due credit to (original trainer) Graham Motion. I saw Easter was kind of stuck behind there and thought maybe he was going to get second. Antonio said he was able to find daylight and then he exploded. He said within a couple of strides he made up all the ground like nothing." It's nice to see all three of my horses run well and the best horse won today. Maybe it's 'Harry' next time and maybe it's Balnikhov after that."

Right: Easter in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Antonio Fresu said, "Obviously, I got Hong Kong Harry in the race right next to me and so I sat behind him. It wasn't easy in their first part. My horse was pretty keen in the first part of the race, and so I was trying to relax him as much as I could along the way. I just tried to get him in a nice rhythm. When we came for home, I could see Hong Kong Harry was loaded in front of me so I was followed true and the last 200 yards there was an opening and I took it. My horse just exploded. He seems like a very nice horse, and hopefully he has a very bright future. Phil D'Amato did a good job, and Phil kept him in very good shape. The race showed he was class. It was a pleasure to ride him."

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Hong Kong Harry in the paddock before the race. Trainer Phil D'Amato said, "It's nice to see all three of my horses run well and the best horse won today. Maybe it's 'Harry' next time and maybe it's Balnikhov after that."

Right: Third place finisher Balnikhov in the paddock. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 5 seconds, and 3 thirds in 22 starts, earning $664,343 for owners Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables, and Old Bones Racing Stable.

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