Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will bear the burden of favoritism in both events on the double-stakes program set for Sunday at Del Mar near San Diego, Calif.
Hollendorfer, whose five wins in the first nine days of fall racing at Del Mar put him one behind leader Peter Miller in the trainer standings, will saddle Battle of Midway in the Grade 3 $100,000 Native Diver and Flying Scotsman in the Grade 3 $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille.
Battle of Midway is the 6-5 choice on oddsmaker Russ Hudak's morning line in a field of six for the Native Diver. Flying Scotsman is 2-1 in a field of six for the Cecil B. DeMille.
The Native Diver, 1 1/8 miles on the main track for older horses, is the third and the Cecil B. DeMille, one mile on turf for 2-year-olds, the sixth on a nine-race card with a first post of 12:30 p.m.
Proving unsuitable at stud early in 2018, Battle of Midway returned to racing in the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Stakes here on August 25 and finished second, beaten 7 ½ lengths by Catalina Cruiser. Fifth of seven in the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont Park in September, the 4-year-old son of Smart Strike was brought back to California and won the $78,000 Comma to the Top Stakes at Santa Anita on October 8. It was his sixth win from 13 career starts, the biggest being the G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile here in 2017, and boosted his career earnings to more than $1.3 million.
The field from the rail: Roman Rosso (Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1), Gift Box (Tyler Baze, 8-1), Kershaw (Heriberto Figueroa, 15-1), Battle of Midway (Flavien Prat, 6-5), Isotherm (Geovanni Franco, 4-1) and Dabster (Joe Talamo, 2-1).
Flying Scotsman was third in his debut here on August 8 and held on for a nose victory in a mile turf maiden race on September 29 at Santa Anita. Flavien Prat takes over for Tyler Conner, who was aboard for Flying Scotsman's two races to date.
The field from the rail: Takeo Squared (Rafael Bejarano, 7-2), Rjeka, (Kent Desormeaux, 4-1), Vantastic (Mike Smith, 5-2), Irish Heatwave (Joe Talamo, 8-1), Sayin Grace (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1), Flying Scotsman (Flavien Prat, 2-1).
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