In reality it wasn’t a very good week the last five racing days at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Too many horses died, including the freakish death of the very good 3-year-old Dance With Fate, and too many jockeys ended up on the dirt or turf. The vibe, I hear from colleagues, wasn’t good on Sunday. Luckily, none of the jockeys who were involved in the incidents appear to have suffered serious injuries.
Del Mar made the right decision in cancelling turf racing on Sunday after a rash of deaths the first two weeks of the meet on the new surface. I’m sure when racing resumes on Wednesday, Joe Harper will make the right decision again, if problems persist.
I’ll tell anyone who will listen that the first two weeks of any race meeting, and it seems particularly Del Mar, is when horses are at most risk because they are changing surfaces. It seems that trainers who get to Del Mar early, don’t have as much of a problem, but the fact is horses have to get used to new surfaces.
As for the action on the track, jockey Kent Desormeaux has rocketed to the top of the riding standings after two weeks with nine victories from 41 mounts. The Hall of Fame jockey from Louisiana is riding as well as I have seen him recently. He was real good back in the day and then hit a rough patch due to personal issues and the like. Let’s hope that is all past him and he’s back in his glory days again.
Jockeys Tyler Baze and Elvis Trujillo, second and third in the current standings, continued strong campaigns so far. For the week Baze was 5-of-40 and Trujillo 4-of-29. Joe Talamo was 3-of-33 but it doesn’t seem like he’s riding well, to me. Talamo seems to be making big moves on the Polytrack turn for home and then flattening out. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but he seemed to ride the same way last year.
Martin Garcia was just 1-for-14, but he did miss Sunday to ride Bayern to victory in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
Apprentice Drayden Van Dyke was 0-for-19, but we’ll cut him huge slack after getting dumped twice in races. He took Sunday off to recuperate.
A couple of other jockey notes, Tiago Pereira, who has earned the nickname “Mr. Long Shot” at the meet with victories on two 50-1 shots, begins a three-days suspension on Wednesday. Victor Espinoza isn’t named on horses on Friday. Brian Beach, Espinoza’s agent, said the horse his jockey was suppose to ride in the stakes didn’t enter and they didn’t have any other calls that day.
On the training end, Peter Miller, a Carlsbad resident, just keeps on trucking and is now a top the standings. Miller has seven wins for the meet and was 4-for-17 last week.
Doug O’Neill is second in the standings with five wins but he was just 1-for-21 on the week.
On the other end, John Sadler had a very frustrating week as his barn went 0-for-20. Look for a rebound soon.
@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter