United, Madone Target Del Mar Handicap, Oaks For Next Starts

United and Madone came out of their respective Grade 2 wins in the $250,000 Eddie Read and $200,000 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., on Saturday in fine fettle, their trainers reported Sunday morning.

And with those lucrative first steps taken, the connections are eyeing even bigger things on August 21 as part of the five-stakes mega card for TVG Pacific Classic Day. For United, it’s the $300,000 Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, a “Win & You’re In” qualifier for the $3 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf here on November 6. For Madone, it’s the $300,000 Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

In defending his Eddie Read title United, a 6-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway, rebounded from a lackluster last-of-four effort in the Charles Whittingham on May 29 at Santa Anita. That effort had his Hall of Fame trainer mystified until a small bruise was found under a shoe.

Under Flavien Prat on Saturday, United went willingly between rivals on the far turn and prevailed by a neck in a stretch duel with even-money favorite Smooth Like Strait.

United covered the 1 1/8 miles over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in 1:49.49 which compared to 1:46.71 in the 2020 victory.

“Different race, different horses,” Mandella said.

“He went back to his old form,” said Prat.

A year ago, the G2 Eddie Read win prompted Mandella to toy with the idea of entering United in the TVG Pacific Classic. After a few days of thought, and also becoming aware that the Classic purse had been dropped from $1 million to $500,000, Mandella opted for the Del Mar Handicap. United was second by a head to Red King in that one.

Mandella’s focus is entirely on the G2 Del Mar Handicap this time.

“We’re not on the roll we were last year,” he said.

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In the G2 San Clemente, Madone made amends for a no-factor performance from a wide trip in the Honeymoon at Santa Anita on May 22. That race was three weeks after a victory in the Senorita and trainer Simon Callaghan shouldered responsibility for the disappointment.

“I ran her back too soon,” Callaghan said. “She bounced, simple as that.”

Madone’s victory ended a five-race win streak for Going Global, the 2-5 San Clemente favorite. Trainer Phil D’Amato said the Irish-bred filly came out of the race well and a rematch should be forthcoming in the Del Mar Oaks.

The post United, Madone Target Del Mar Handicap, Oaks For Next Starts appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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