Gary Stevens guides Gary Barber’s Monster Bea to an opening-day victory in the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar
Fifty-three-year old Gary Stevens demonstrated for the umpteenth time why he’s a member of Thoroughbred Racing’s Hall of Fame Friday as he piloted longshot Monster Bea to an upset victory in the featured $ 117,970 Oceanside Stakes on opening-day of Del Mar’s 77th summer season.
Attendance Friday was 42,562, the largest crowd to attend the races in California this year. 2015’s first day attendance was 40,304.
Outrun in the early stages of the one-mile race over Del Mar’s infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course, 12-1 Mountain Bea was guided to the far outside on the final turn by Stevens and responded with an impressive stretch rally which propelled him to an impressive two and one-quarter length triumph in the contest for 3-year-olds.
Moonlight Drive, the 2-1 favorite under Rafael Bejarano, was runner-up, one and one-quarter lengths in front of Path of David, with Dressed in Hermes another head back in fourth place in the field of 10 sophomores. Scratched from the original line-up were All the Marbles, Blackjackcat, Lauren’s Ladd, Liam the Charmer and Tristan’s Trilogy.
Owned by Gary Barber and trained by Peter Miller, Mountain Bea returned $ 27.20, $ 9.80 and $ 5.60 after scoring his third win in ten starts. Conditioned previously by Mark Casse, Mountain Bea increased his earnings to $ 179,647 counting the Oceanside’s $ 69,550 first prize.
Moonlight Drive returned $ 4.20 and $ 3.20, while Path of David paid $ 6.60 to show.
Santiago Gonzalez was the riding star of the afternoon as he booted in three winners – Accelerant at $ 17.80 in the first, My Samurai Warrior at $ 5.60 in the fourth and Song for Jade at $ 10.60 in the sixth. Doubling were Tyler Baze and Kent Desormeaux.
There was a single perfect ticket in the Pick Six and it paid $ 120,914.
GARY STEVENS (Monster Bea, winner) – “My new agent (Mike Ciani) really liked this horse when I won on him in Kentucky (an allowance race on June 10). He (Ciani) said ‘How about the Oceanside.’ Mark Casse had this horse in Kentucky and he did a great job with him. And I think he’ll like the mile and one eighth, too. The Del Mar Derby distance. I think that’s where we’re going here. Opening Day at Del Mar is special. Opening Day and Pacific Classic Day. It’s like a Breeders’ Cup Day or a (Kentucky) Derby Day. So special. So good to be part of it. My first one here was 1985. I still remember it.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Moonlight Drive, second) – “He ran good. The winner pushed me out. But he (Monster Bea) was much the best today. He just was.”
TYLER BAZE (Path of David, third) – “I had to move with him sooner than I wanted to because Gary (Stevens on Monster Bea) made his move. I’m not sure my horse was 100% cranked for this one. Next time he’ll be ready.”
PETER MILLER (Monster Bea, winner) – “Mr. (owner Gary) Barber just called me and said ‘I’ve got a horse I’m sending out from Kentucky to you’. We’ve only had him about a week. All the credit goes to (former trainer) Mark Casse. He did a super job and had him ready to run and we just babysat him for a week. Hopefully it does bode well for our stable and for Mr. Barber’s horses here. I’ll get together with Mr. Barber and we’ll talk about the La Jolla and Del Mar Derby (additional races in the series).”
FRACTIONS: :22.85 :46.34 1:11.77 1:24.22 1:35.93
The stakes win was the 91st for Gary Stevens at Del Mar, seventh best all time at the track. This is the seventh time he’s won the Oceanside.
The stakes win was the 14th at Del Mar for Peter Miller. It is the first time he’s won the Oceanside.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2016 Paulick Report.