Irish-bred Jasikan, the 9-5 favorite in a field of 12 3-year-olds, rallied from last place to win the featured $117,357 Runhappy Oceanside Stakes on opening-day of the 2019 Del Mar summer racing season Wednesday in Del Mar, Calif.
Outrun in the early stages of the one-mile contest over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course, Jasikan responded to the urging of jockey Flavien Prat to nose out Nolde at the wire after a long, sustained run. Rijeka was third, a length and one-half farther back, with Golden Birthday fourth.
Owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler, Jasikan, a son of Bated Breath, stepped the distance in 1:34.93 and returned $5.80, $3.60 and $2.80 while earning $68,940 with his third success in five outings. The colt's bankroll now is $131,653.
Nolde, who took the lead entering the stretch under jockey Victor Espinoza only to be nosed out at the finish, paid $5 and $3.80, while Rijeka returned $6.60.
Jasikan provided Prat with his second win of the afternoon, the rider also taking the second race aboard United at $5.60. He made it a triple in the day's 10th race finale, winning with Give Me The Lute at $7.20. Doubling Wednesday was Rafael Bejarano, scoring on Julius in the first at $3.60 and Facts Matter, $7.80, in the fourth.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Jasikan, winner) – “I had the good trip. I knew my horse had great acceleration and I rode him like he was the best horse. We went wide late, but we had no choice. You're not going to get down inside when you come from the back. But he kicked and it turned out right.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Nolde, second) – “Good race for him; he ran good. But I think we could have won it. He made the lead and he just waited a little bit. Then that other horse (Jasikan) came outside and beat us. If he came up next to my horse, I think he (Nolde) digs back in. I think that (incident) may have cost me the race.”
RUBEN FUENTES (Rijeka, third) – “I had to steady him a bit at the three-eighths (pole), but other than that it was a good trip. He ran really well.”
JOHN SADLER (Jasikan, winner) – “I didn't sleep too well last night because I set the bar really high last year. A little nervous, Day One trepidation, but our other horses ran well today and this one got the job done as the favorite, so we're delighted. He actually broke better today. His last race he broke really slow, today he broke regular slow. He's just not a horse that's very good from the gate, but he's got a lovely turn of foot and as you saw he looped the field and came from way back. It feels great to be back here at Del Mar. I've been coming here for a lot of years (this is his 41st season at Del Mar) and it's a very good feeling. The place is beautiful and the weather's great.”
FRACTIONS: :23.14 :47.18 1:11.13 1:23.23 1:34.93
The stakes win was the first of the meet for rider Prat and also his first in the Oceanside. He now has 34 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Sadler, but his fifth in the Oceanside. He now has 68 stakes wins at Del Mar, fifth most among all trainers.
The winner is owned by Hronis Racing, the nom du course of Kosta and Pete Hronis of Delano, CA.
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