A field of six was entered Wednesday, topped by mighty Arrogate, for Saturday’s $ 300,000 TVG San Diego Handicap.
And if all six break from the gate, it will be twice the size of the field that included Arrogate in his only previous Del Mar start.
On Thursday, August 4 of last year, in the second race of the day, Arrogate – the talk of the track despite making only his fourth career start – took on two other runners in an allowance race with a purse of $ 62,500.
The Bob Baffert trainee, owned by Juddmonte Farm, broke a step slowly and was last by 2 1/2 – 3 lengths for the first half-mile of the 1 1/16 mile run, then made his move turning for home under Rafael Bejarano and pulled away to a 1 3/4 –length victory in a swift 1:41.76. Kristo and Teniente Corone completed the order of finish.
The group Arrogate faces Saturday consists of Cat Burglar, another Baffert trainee, Accelerate from the John Sadler barn, Donworth from the stable of Doug O’Neill, Peter Miller-trained El Huerfano, and J. Keith Desormeaux’s Dalmore.
Cat Burglar has six victories in 19 starts for owner Michael Lund Petersen and most recently finished second to Collected, albeit 14 lengths behind the winner, in the Precisionist Stakes on June 24 at Santa Anita which was run at the San Diego distance of 1 1/16 miles.
Donworth set the pace in the Precisionist before fading to fourth in a field of five, beaten 16 lengths. Accelerate chased from the back then rallied late to gain third place at the wire.
El Huerfano enters off a June 18 allowance victory at Santa Anita. Dalmore is winless in seven starts since the Grade III Affirmed in early July of 2016. The 4-year-old Colonel John gelding finished fifth of nine in last year’s Pacific Classic won by California Chrome.
Oddsmaker Russ Hudak will post the morning line odds on Thursday. He projected Arrogate as the 1-To-5 favorite.
The field for the San Diego from the rail out: Accelerate (Victor Espinoza), El Huerfano (Evin Roman), Arrogate (Mike Smith), Donworth (Mario Gutierrez), Cat Burglar (Rafael Bejarano) and Dalmore (Kent Desormeaux).
Arrogate, meanwhile, went through what has become his usual morning exercise routine Wednesday. Arriving at the track under exercise rider Dana Barnes with the 9 a.m. set from Baffert barn, Arrogate stood quietly while a few dozen other horses went to their business then backtracked past the sixteenth pole.
After turning to go in the regular track direction, Arrogate went about 1 1/2 miles, mostly at a jog with Barnes keeping a firm hold.
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