The victory with Lady Suebee in Friday's Tranquility Lake Stakes was stakes win No. 99 at Del Mar for Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza and No. 7 this season for trainer John Sadler.
His second stakes victory of the meeting moved Espinoza to within one of tying fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens for third on the track's all-time list behind Chris McCarron (134) and Corey Nakatani (108).
No. 99 didn't involve a lot of strategy for the 47-year-old Espinoza. He took the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of First Defence straight to a clear lead, stretched it to six lengths in the stretch and cruised home in front by 5 ½.
His possibilities for No. 100 start with Seven Trumpets (15-1) in Saturday's Grade II $200,000 Pat O'Brien and, failing that, advance to Tap Back for Jeff Bonde in next Friday's $100,000 I'm Smokin, Inspiressa for Sadler in the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on Saturday, August 31 or Nolde for John Shirreffs in the Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 1.
“Hopefully, we get it sooner rather than later,” Brian Beach, Espinoza's agent, said Saturday morning. It was the 26th stakes with a mount booked by Beach, who has been Espinoza's agent since 2013.
Espinoza's first stakes victory at Del Mar came in a division of the Oceanside on opening day of the 2000 meeting aboard Stormy Jack. Espinoza recorded at least two a year from 2000-2017 then had the streak end with the serious injury early in last year's meeting that sidelined him for seven months.
The seventh stakes win of the meeting for Sadler was No. 74 in his career of more than three decades at Del Mar. It tied Sadler with legendary trainer Charlie Whittingham for No. 3 on the stakes-wins list behind Bob Baffert (128) and Ron McAnally (77).
Another sensational stakes season for Sadler has him one away from tying his personal best of eight in a year established in 2008 and matched last summer. In 2008 Black Mamba's score in the John C. Mabee highlighted a season of eight different stakes winners. In 2018 Catapult and Catalina Cruiser contributed two wins each and Accelerate presented Sadler with his first TVG Pacific Classic victory.
Catalina Cruiser will be sent out aiming to complete a San Diego Handicap/Pat O'Brien double again in Saturday's feature.
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