When the stable area opens for occupancy in advance of the Bing Crosby Meeting, two trainers that can be counted on to be in the vanguard of the move-in are Bill Spawr and Bob Hess, Jr.
And so it was, last weekend that the Spawr and Hess contingents were among the first to lead horses into stalls. Hess was allotted 34 of them, second only to the 38 of Peter Miller. Spawr has 24.
“My favorite meeting,” Spawr, who will turn 80 in December, said Thursday morning. “It's quiet and cool and you've got a nice track to train on.”
His stable's prospects, Spawr said, are good.
“We've got five entered the first day and they're all ready, so we hope to get off to a good start and go from there.” Only Hess, with six, has more opening day entries than Spawr.
Spawr has nine stakes victories here in a training career of more than four decades. His most recent Del Mar stakes score came in the inaugural fall meeting of 2014 with Risky Proposition in the Let It Ride.
He'll be aiming to add to that total when he saddles the 6-year-old mare Poster Girl in the opening-day $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes. Poster Girl was claimed out of a winning race in early October at Santa Anita. Spawr is part owner with Kentucky-based Farfellow Farms.
The English-bred mare has four wins from 26 career starts and earnings of $191,411.
Hess' camp moved in on Sunday, which, he said was “Not as early as I'd really like,” but there was a little piece of business called the Breeders' Cup to be concerned with when the stable gates were opened on Saturday.
Like Spawr, Hess is looking forward to a good season, his definition of which echoed Spawr.
“I think anybody will tell you that would mean having a safe, injury free meeting. I haven't had any problems and I think this has been one of the safest meetings overall every year.
“A couple wins wouldn't hurt,” Hess continued. “A couple (victory) dinners at Tony's Jacal and some of the better restaurants around here would be nice.”
Half-Dozen Entered In Saturday's Let It Ride Stakes
A field of six was entered Wednesday for Saturday's featured $75,000 Let It Ride Stakes, a turf mile for California-bred 3-year-olds.
Richard Baltas-trained Bob and Jackie, bred and owned by the Zayat stables of Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, will be ending an 11-month layoff and seeking a third straight win.
The field from the rail: Proud Pedro (Rafael Bejarano, 7-2), Dueling (Drayden Van Dyke, 4-1), Ocean Fury (Geovanni Franco, 7-2), Golden Birthday (Victor Espinoza, 8-1), Bob and Jackie (Heriberto Figueroa, 5-2) and Carnivorous (Mario Gutierrez, 3-1).
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