Jerry Moss' Nolde, given a stirring ride by Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza, rallied between horses in deep stretch to take the lead and then barely withstood the onrushing Originaire to win the Grade 2 $250,000 Del Mar Derby Sunday at Del Mar, Calif.
Nolde, beaten a nose by Jasikan in the opening day Oceanside Stakes, scored by a neck in the race that traditionally stamps the 3-year-old champion of the summer season at Del Mar.
Irish-bred Originaire, ridden by Mike Smith, charged from last place to be finishing fastest, defeating third-place and 2-1 favorite Neptune's Storm by a head for second. Another neck back in fourth in the field of nine 3-year-olds was 35-1 longshot Hackberry. Withdrawn from the nine-furlong grass contest was Walker Stalker.
Nolde, conditioned by John Shirreffs, went postward at 6-1 and paid $15.20, $7.60 and $4.40 after his third victory in eight starts. The colt, a Kentucky-bred son of Pioneerof the Nile, earned $150,000 to up his bankroll to $270,470 with his initial stakes success. His time for the distance was 1:46.98.
Originaire, like the winner a 6-1 shot, returned $7.40 and $4.40, while Neptune's Storm returned $3.20 to show.
Del Mar's 80th season closes on Labor Day Monday, featuring the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity for 2-year-olds. Post time for the first of ten races is 2 p.m. PT.
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Nolde, winner) – “Sometimes when you get on this horse, he's nice and easy going. Not today. He was strong; like a bull. I like that. He was telling me he was ready. When we ran last time (beaten a nose in the Oceanside on July 17), I knew he ran a good race, but I knew he'd be better next time. He's got a long stride and distance is going to be good for him. He's not an easy horse to ride, but he's got a lot of talent. We've just got to figure out a way to bring it out. When I sent him inside today, he just went. He was ready.”
MIKE SMITH (Originaire, second) – “He ran great; too good to lose. The winner ran good, too. Too bad we couldn't have had a dead-heat.”
FLORENT GEROUX (Neptune's Storm, third) – “He turned in a very good race. I wanted to time my move just right. When I turned for home, I thought I was going to be a winner. But the two horses in front of us ran well. What are you going to do?”
JOHN SHIRREFFS (Nolde, winner) – “The Oceanside prepared him nicely for this, which was the plan. We were very happy with the way the horse trained for the race. Victor (Espinoza) has ridden him a number of times and really knows the horse. He got him settled in a nice position and Nolde has a really nice turn of foot. We're happy to have him (Espinoza) ride our horses. He's a great rider.”
The stakes win was the third of the meet, but first in the Del Mar Derby for rider Espinoza. He now has 100 stakes wins at Del Mar, tying Gary Stevens for third-most in track history.
The stakes win was the first of the meet, but the second (Madeo, 2008) in the Del Mar Derby for trainer Shirreffs. He now has 15 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The winning owner (and breeder) is Jerome Moss of Los Angeles, CA.
Moss and Shirreffs won the Del Mar Derby in 2008 with Madeo.
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