Del Mar In Fall: ‘About As Close To Perfect For Racing As It Can Be’

Maybe it was the contented aftereffects of the Thanksgiving meal he’d had the night before, but Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella chose, unprompted, to reflect on the Bing Crosby Fall meeting Friday when there were still three days to go.

“I hate to see this ending, I love it down here this time of year,” Mandella said. “I love it period, but this time of year it’s about as close to perfect for racing as it can be. The weather’s so good, the town’s kind of quiet and easy to get around. I can’t say enough about it.”

The weather may have turned to more overcast, foggy and chilly than usual, but many horsemen and, hopefully fans, will take away good feelings and memories from the fourth autumn session “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” The one in which Del Mar hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the first time.

Peter Miller certainly will.

“Everything has gone much better than I could have expected or even hoped for,” Miller said Sunday while supervising a string of workers to the track.

The Encinitas resident recorded the first two Breeders’ Cup victories of his career when Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy ran 1-2 in the $1 million Turf Sprint and, three races later, Roy H won the $1.5 million Sprint.

The Breeders’ Cup behind, Miller has dominated the trainer standings, notching 18 wins entering the final day of the meeting, more than double the totals of his nearest competitors and even edging, by one, the victories of meet-leading jockey Flavien Prat with nine races to go.

Miller will claim his third training title in the four Bing Crosby seasons. He won the inaugural in 2014 with 15 wins to runner-up Mike Puype’s 10. Miller tied for second in 2015, his 13 wins coming up two short of Doug O’Neill, then overpowered everyone a year ago, posting 16 wins to eight for his closest pursuers.

Gratifying though such success may be, Miller said he focuses on the day-to-day and doesn’t let things like his current 31 percent win and 56 percent in-the-money rate affect him.

“That (success) means an 0-for-20 is probably right around the corner,” Miller said. “This business is such a roller coaster that I try to maintain an even keel. That’s not easy to do, but I try to never get too high or too low. You’re never as good, or as bad as you think you are.”

Miller has three representatives on the closing day entries. Mesa Sky is the 3-1 favorite in the second race. Belvoir Bay is a 20-1 morning line long shot in the Matriarch Stakes, which goes as the seventh, and Alliana is at 5-2 in the eighth.

The post Del Mar In Fall: ‘About As Close To Perfect For Racing As It Can Be’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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