Del Mar’s Red Carpet Stakes Has Eastern Flavor; TVG’s Hoover Savors 2019 Victory By $8,000 Claim

The field of 10 for the Thanksgiving Day featured Red Carpet Stakes includes four horses that last raced in New York or Kentucky on assignment from nationally-renowned trainers. Three of them will have elite Eastern-based jockeys that venture west only when the stakes are most plentiful and highest – as they will be through the four final days of the Bing Crosby Season.

So the Grade 3, $100,000 Red Carpet figures to be a tasty hors d’oeuvre for the feast that will follow—six graded stakes on grass in three days in what amounts to a “Turf Festival” – to the November 29 close of the meeting.

Three notable equine travelers for the 1 3/8-mile Red Carpet marathon for fillies and mares are Orglandes for one of the nation’s leading trainers, Chad Brown, Woodfin for Victoria Oliver and Blame Debbie for H. Graham Motion. And Peter Miller has had California Kook, runner-up in the G1 Del Mar Oaks last summer, in training at San Luis Rey Downs for a month since returning from a fifth-place finish in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup on October 10 at Keeneland.

Irad Ortiz, Jr., No. 1 in North America for purse earnings with nearly $20 million, will ride Orglandes, a 4-year-old import from France making her third U.S. start and coming in off a win at Belmont Park on October 9. Joel Rosario, No. 2 in winnings with nearly $17 million, has the call on California Kook. Manny Franco, No. 10 with more than $11.4 million will be aboard Blame Debbie after their initial collaboration resulted in victory in the G3 Dowager at Keeneland last month.

The field from the rail with jockeys in parenthesis: California Kook (Rosario); Never Be Enough (Tiago Pereira); Colonial Creed (Flavien Prat); Orglandes (Ortiz, Jr.); Going to Vegas (Mario Gutierrez); Woodfin (Jose Valdivia, Jr.); Aunt Lubie (Victor Espinoza); Blame Debbie (Franco); Hollywood Girl (Mike Smith), and Quick (Umberto Rispoli).

When TVG commentator Kurt Hoover saw the entries come out for the Red Carpet, he took special interest in looking over the field. Partly out of professional obligation, of course, but also for sentimental reasons.

“It’s a race that doesn’t mean a hell of a lot to a lot of people, but it does to me,” Hoover said by phone from the Los Angeles area.

Hoover, his friend from high school days Brian Ferguson and Jeff Lambert of Del Mar, a longtime client of trainer Bob Hess, Jr., comprised the ownership group of Zuzanna, an $8,000 claim of theirs that they watched win the 2019 Red Carpet at odds of 23-1.

“I remember watching her cross under the finish line and I remember being in the winner’s circle, but I don’t remember going down to the winner’s circle,” said Hoover. It was the first stakes win as an owner for Hoover, who said he has had pieces of four or five horses with only Zuzanna succeeding at the stakes level.

“I suggested to Bob that we enter because I thought maybe we could hit the board,” Hoover recalled. “If it hadn’t been a mile and three-eighths we wouldn’t have entered. We were planning on going to the Claiming Crown (event) in Florida with her.”

The traditional Thanksgiving Day feature of the Bing Crosby Season was moved to Saturday in 2019 after rains early in the week compromised the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. That resulted in Paco Lopez, arriving from the east, being able to ride Zuzanna skillfully to a 1 ½-length victory.

After more than 30 career starts, Zuzanna has recently been retired and will be sold as a broodmare in January.

For the first time in 30 years, Hoover has a Thanksgiving Day off from work. But he said he’ll be watching the Red Carpet with professional and sentimental interest.

“I like John Sadler’s horse Quick,” Hoover said when asked for a 2020 selection. “Her last outing was a really good effort and I think she’s ready to run big. Besides Quick, I think Graham Motion’s horse coming in from Kentucky, Blame Debbie, will be very tough.”

In Thursday’s edition, trainer Richard Baltas has the duo of Going to Vegas and Colonial Creed. Going to Vegas comes in off a runner-up effort, beaten only a neck by Warren’s Showtime, in the G3 Autumn Miss at Santa Anita. Colonial Creed was second in the Katherine Crosby Stakes on the opening day of this meeting.

“Going To Vegas ran really good last time with the blinkers off,” Baltas noted. “It’s a little far for her, but if she can get the distance, who knows? Obviously she’s in a little tough because she’s a 3-year-old running against older, but we’re going to see because she’s training really well.

“Colonial Creed has never been this far either, but she’s coming off the pace now more and more, so maybe she will like the distance. I think they’ve both got a good chance.”

The post Del Mar’s Red Carpet Stakes Has Eastern Flavor; TVG’s Hoover Savors 2019 Victory By $8,000 Claim appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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