Azul Coast Bounces Back From Poor Showing In Awesome Again To Take Native Diver

Seventh last-out in the Grade 1 Awesome Again, Azul Coast bounced back from that lackluster performance to earn his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Native Diver at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

Under jockey Flavien Prat, Azul Coast bumped Bal Harbour out of the gate and then settled back last of six early in the 1 1/18-mile stakes as fellow Baffert trainees Ax Man and Eight Rings ran on the lead around the first turn and in the backstretch. As the field approached the far turn, Azul Coast moved up on the outside, improving his position from last to fourth.

Azul Coast went four-wide into the far turn, entering the stretch with Ax Man and Eight Rings on his inside. Ax Man tired and faded out of contention while Eight Rings and Azul Coast were head-to-head down the first half of the stretch, the latter eventually gaining a narrow lead as Kiss Today Goodbye mounted his bid to the outside. At the wire, Azul Coast was able to hold on by a neck over Kiss Today Goodbye, with Eight Rings third.

The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.55. Find this race’s chart here.

Azul Coast paid $8.40, $4.60, and $2.60. Kiss Today Goodbye paid $5.20 and $2.80. Eight Rings paid $2.20.

“’Azul’ runs his best races down here. He likes this track and he ran really impressive. When I ran him in the Awesome Again, he just laid an egg, he was up there close and I was really disappointed, but he was chasing Medina Spirit. I had no idea how it would set up, they were all on their own. I told the jockeys (he had three horses in the race) you guys ride your own races and hopefully we’ll run 1-2-3. I’m happy for the connections, the well has been a little dry lately. Main thing is that we got the ‘w’…” trainer Bob Baffert said after the race.

“We were in a good spot for the whole trip. I could tell the pace was only moderate, so I moved him up closer near the three-eighths (pole). Then when we went we were in good position and he was ready. A good win,” jockey Flavien Prat told the Del Mar Press Office after the Native Diver.

Bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock LLC, the 4-year-old colt is by Super Saver out of the Sky Mesa mare Sky Treasure. He is owned by Michael Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. Consigned by Woods Edge Farm, Azul Coast was purchased by Three Amigos for $320,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. With this win in the G3 Native Diver, Azul Coast has two wins in four starts in 2021, for a lifetime record of four wins in 10 starts and career earnings of $221,280.

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