The top turfers of the West Coast division will clash on Saturday for the $250K Eddie Read Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.
It makes for an interesting race when the distance is set to nine furlongs, which is smack dab in the middle of a mile and route contest. Since it's somewhat of a middle ground, a variety of competitors are attracted.
This race is for three-year-olds and upward, contested at one mile and one-eighth over the grass. Seven horses will enter the gate, with last year's winner of this stakes race, UNITED, breaking from post-position number two. Here is the field:
Race 8: The $250K Eddie Read Stakes (G2):
Post Time 5:30 PM ET.
SAY THE WORD
SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT
SAY THE WORD from the three hole for trainer Philip D'Amato has run outstanding twelve furlong races. Only recently did he try his hooves at a mile for the first time in a while—a fast-closing second last time out in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) against SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT. Now he gets an extra furlong to maximize that late kick of his. The son of MORE THAN READY will be making his first start at this distance, but has already finished a decent third over this Del Mar turf in last year's Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). Mike Smith rode him to a second-place effort last March and is back again for the task.
SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT is developing into a monster for trainer Michael McCarthy. Since the start of the year, the son of MIDNIGHT LUTE has competed in three consecutive Grade 1 races—one of which he won, and the other two he lost by a neck. He's got 2 wins and 1 second from 3 tries at Del Mar. He figures to be the fastest early speed, so the race must go through him. Regular rider Umberto Rispoli is back on the saddle.
Last year's Eddie Read Stakes winner UNITED breaks from the two hole for trainer Richard Mandella. Regular rider Flavien Prat is back in the irons. The GIANT'S CAUSEWAY colt is 2 for 2 at this nine-furlong distance, and has a solid record at the Surf: 2 wins, 2 seconds from 4 total tries. Is he going to vie for the lead this time? We've seen him take the field gate to wire before. Note his sharp 5F workout on July 18th at Del Mar, going :58.8 as the 2nd fastest of 78 works at that distance.
Longshot alert: have a look at the Paulo Lobo trainee, VINTAGE PRINT, from the rail. Jockey Adam Beschizza flies to California for the mount. Here is a $1.8 million son of CURLIN who is lightly raced, with just 7 lifetime starts. He exited a second-place effort in an OC 62.5k race at Churchill Downs, where he was five-wide but gaining, and earned a new top speed figure for the effort. He'll add blinkers for the assignment, which results in a success rate of 50% for his trainer. In preparation for this start, he delivered a sharp 4F workout on July 16th, going :48.8 as the 20th fastest of 56 works at that distance.
COUNT AGAIN is the other D'Amato entrant from post position four. He was last seen finishing fourth in the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs two months back, but was only beaten by a length and three quarters. He was closing smartly on top class horses, while at odds of 16-1 that day. Jockey Joe Bravo gets the call.
AWARD WINNER is interesting from the five hole for trainer David Hoffmans. He's got 2 wins and 2 seconds since being claimed from trainer Brian Lynch in September of 2020. More recently, the son of GHOSTZAPPER captured the Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita two months back, winning by a head over ACCLIMATE, and achieving a new top speed figure to shoe. His ESF numbers of his last four races have been: 103, 104, 110, and 111. He'll be stepping up in class but has the wherewithal to be competitive here. Matter of fact, he owns the highest, last-race ESF score of the field. One to watch.
Finally, RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE from the seventh-slot for trainer Val Brinkerhoff completes the mix. Jockey Tyler Baze is back on board, who has not failed to finish in the money in all four rides on this son of HOLD ME BACK. Together, Tyler and RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE captured the American Stakes (G3) last time out at Santa Anita, a turf race contested at a mile which he angled three-wide and wore down his foes. He's primarily an eight-furlong horse but has registered at least one win at this nine-furlong distance, back in September of 2020, albeit on the dirt. He's got :22 quarter-mile speed to contend with, so he could be up close early, or lay back as he's characteristically done so in the past.