Flavien Prat sent Little Red Feather and Marsha Naify's Fashion Business at the half-mile pole in Saturday's Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, capitalizing on a slowing pace to win the gelding's first graded stakes race by open lengths. The 4-year-old son of Frankel covered 1 3/8 miles over Del Mar's firm turf course in 2:13.84. Trained by Phil D'Amato, Fashion Business was sent off at odds of 4-1. The 7-2 favorite Itsinthepost finished off the board.
The win earns Fashion Business an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Longines Turf this fall at Churchill Downs.
“On the backside I could tell they were going slow and I went a little wide around there,” said Prat. “I know it takes a little time to go around. I just kept digging in and he just finished. I had a pretty clean trip.”
After an easy break, Prat kept Fashion Business behind horses while second-last. He sensed that the fractions, set by Kenjisstorm, were slow, and let the gelding creep up a few spots. The entire field of 11 was covered by just eight lengths down the backstretch.
At the half-mile pole, Prat gave Fashion Business his cue and sent the gelding flying four-wide around the turn. The pair hit the lane with a two-length lead, and continued to draw away down the stretch to cross the wire about six lengths the best. Ya Gotta Wanna ran on well to finish second, while Multiplier finished third. Colonist was fourth.
“I thought he was going to come running,” D'Amato said. “I think Flavien (Prat) just sensed they were going so slow it was a now or never type move. His race at Belmont was actually way better than it looked. He was in a blanket finish and then the horse that finished behind him came back and won the Arlington Million. So it was a very productive race. The last race (Eddie Read Stakes) — the mile and an eighth — we used as a prep for this race and it just worked out perfect.”
Bred in Great Britain by Andrew Rosen, Fashion Business broke his maiden overseas at the beginning of 2017, then came to the United States. He did not find the winner's circle again until May of 2018, and the Del Mar Handicap is the gelding's third career win. Fashion Business has earned over $280,000 in his 12 starts.
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