Stidham Celebrates Another Stakes Win At Del Mar

The win by Princess Grace in Saturday’s Yellow Ribbon Handicap was the sixth at that level at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., for trainer Michael Stidham.

And maybe it was just the heat of the moment, but it seemed in the winner’s circle afterward that seeing the 4-year-old daughter of Karakontie bursting between horses at the top of the stretch in the $200,000, 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 event and proceeding resolutely to a 1 ¼-length victory, topped the previous five here for the 63-year-old Stidham.

“I always, always love coming back to Del Mar,” Stidham, 63, said. “I was here all through the 1980s and it’s almost like coming home. It’s a great feeling. Part of my family – my daughter from college and my mother – are here and it’s just a fantastic feeling.”

Stidham trained Princess Grace’s mother, Masquerade, and said that the two were similarly tenacious, “always digging in and trying to win every time out.” Princess Grace, he said, was more talented – as evidenced by five wins and a second in six career starts over six different racetracks. “She should be undefeated, the one loss was just unlucky,” Stidham said.

Based in New Orleans, Stidham campaigns horses extensively in the Midwest and East, but has had success shipping here for stakes events over the last seven years.

In 2014, he won the San Clemente Stakes and the Sandy Blue with Istanford. He took back-to-back runnings of the Jimmy Durante during the fall meeting in 2018 and 2019 with Elsa and Alms, respectively. Pixelate’s victory in last year’s Del Mar Derby made it three straight years of at least one Del Mar stakes victory for Stidham, a streak that Princess Grace extended.

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“I have to say, one of the reasons I’m here is David Jerkens, the racing secretary,” Stidham said. “He’s constantly calling me and wanting me to bring a string out – which I did a few years ago – and keeping me updated on races. He does a great job, and I want to give him credit for being part of the reason I came.”

Princess Grace exited the Yellow Ribbon in fine fettle. Her next assignment is undetermined.

“I haven’t looked past (the Yellow Ribbon),” Stidham said. “This was going to be her test to step up to another league and she obviously passed the test really well.”

The post Stidham Celebrates Another Stakes Win At Del Mar appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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