Dalmore and jockey Kent Desormeaux, outside, overpower Danzing Candy (Rafael Bejarano), inside, to win the Grade III, $ 100,00 Affirmed Stakes,
In the best race of his career, Dalmore, who is trained by Keith Desormeaux and was ridden by his brother, Kent, engaged heavily favored Danzing Candy a quarter mile from home and proved best by a half length in Saturday’s Grade III, $ 100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita. With longshot Beaumarchais and Danzing Candy carving out fast early fractions, Dalmore sat a comfortable third, about three lengths off the lead with three furlongs to run and he stopped the clock after a mile and a sixteenth in a rapid 1:40.84.
“It’s been a nice three-race series here with this horse,” said Keith Desormeaux. “Each race, he’s had a perfect trip. I think that’s attributed not only to Kent’s prowess but also the fact that he’s had small fields and it’s always ended up a decent pace. Although, in the two previous races, the pace was slower and today it was quick, so good job by Kent judging the pace today.”
A Florida-bred colt by Colonel John, Dalmore was purchased for a bargain $ 47,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 2014 and is owned by Big Chief Racing, LLC, Rocker O Ranch, LLC and Keith Desormeaux. Dalmore, who came off a first condition allowance win here on May 29, was off at 7-2 and paid $ 9.20, $ 2.60 and $ 2.10.
Eased three starts back in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on April 9, Dalmore was subsequently a well beaten fifth in the 1 1/16 miles California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos two starts back on April 30.
“The most impressive part (of today’s race) was that half mile move to the quarter pole,” said Kent. “That was all him, I never asked him. I hadn’t even used my horse yet and Rafael (Bejarano, aboard Danzing Candy) was driving. To me, I knew we had him. It was a very explosive effort by Dalmore.”
With three wins and as many seconds from 11 overall starts, Dalmore picked up $ 60,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $ 187,302.
Unraced since beaten 20 lengths in the Kentucky Derby May 7, Danzing Candy made his first start today for Bob Baffert and he appeared every bit a 1-5 favorite as the race unfolded. As Baffert had hoped, he relaxed well under new pilot Bejarano and seemed comfortable sitting a close second behind Beaumarchais before taking the lead five sixteenths from home.
“Well, he was rating pretty good, but Beaumarchais was just going so fast,” said Baffert. “When I saw that second quarter in 46, I thought ‘Oh man…’ Dalmore is a good horse.”
Off at 1-5 in a field of five sophomores, Danzing Candy, who finished 8 ½ lengths clear of Prince of Arabia, paid $ 2.10 and $ 2.10.
Ridden by Santiago Gonzalez and off at 13-1, Prince of Arabia picked up a tiring Beaumarchais the final sixteenth and paid $ 2.40 to show while finishing 4 ¼ lengths clear of the pacesetter.
Fractions on the race were 23.26, 46 flat, 1:10.02 and 1:34.52.
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