The 3-1 third chance in the field of six, Jay Em Ess Stable's Mr. Vargas grabbed the lead at the start and never relinquished it in Saturday's Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap. The 5-year-old son of Midshipman, ridden by Joe Talamo for trainer Brian Koriner, covered five furlongs over Del Mar's firm turf course in 56.15 seconds for his first graded stakes victory.
Eddie Haskell was 2 1/4 lengths back in second, while Eclipse Champion Stormy Liberal finished another half-length back in third.
JOE TALAMO (Mr Vargas, winner) – “We California Flagged 'em. (A reference to the double winner of this race, and the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, ridden by Talamo and trained by Brian Koriner.) The plan was to get him out there and make the lead. He did his part. He got a little breather when I dropped over at the half (half-mile pole) and again on the turn, but otherwise he was running hard all the way. When they came for him he just went on. I was afraid they were going to be closing on us, so I went for it and he responded very well. He's a really nice horse.”
KENT DESORMEAUX (Eddie Haskell, second) – “He ran really well. The winner was just too tough today.”
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Stormy Liberal, third) – “He ran good. I think this race will serve him well on down the line.”
BRIAN KORINER (Mr Vargas, winner) – “He's just a runner. He ran great his first race here and did it again today. He's a racehorse! A fast, fast horse.”
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