Trainer Doug O'Neill's stable sent out five winners on the seven-race program at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club meet on Wednesday, matching the Del Mar, Calif., track's record for most winners in a day the O'Neill barn set July 29, 2015.
O'Neill, five-time leading trainer at Del Mar, began the afternoon with a $49.20 upset by So Gucci in the first, followed with Oil Can Knight at $24.60 in the third, Vegan at $15.80 in the fourth and Convince at $15.40 in the fifth. Acai was eighth and last in the C.T.B.A. Stakes, the feature race of the day, but Ocean Fury, $6.20, climaxed the afternoon by winning the seventh-race nightcap. None of O'Neill's winners was favored, although Ocean Fury was a closed second choice.
“My only chance of the day today was this horse,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to O'Neill, after Ocean Fury's win in the seventh. “A few of my friends asked who I liked today and it was this one (Ocean Fury). Every other horse running today was plus, plus, plus, but this one I knew was going to run well. Coming into this race, I felt the pressure because we have won four already on the card and we all wanted to get to five. I am very glad to have tied our own record; I just wish it was six! We are celebrating tonight with lobster, but with no beans!”
Making her debut for new owners, odds-on favored Bulletproof One provided a quick return on their investment as she cruised to an impressive triumph in the featured $100,000 C.T.B.A. Stakes for California-bred two-year-old fillies Wednesday.
Piloted by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., Bulletproof One quickly dashed to the front after the break, shook off longshot Unchain Her Heart turning into the stretch and cruised to the wire 6 1/4 lengths on top in 1:04.70 for the five and one-half furlongs. Fractions were :21.64, :45.22 and :57.80.
Bulletproof One, a daughter of Idiot Proof, was purchased by Gary Barber, Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbreds and Adam Wachtel after a second consecutive daylight victory, taking the July 6 Everett Nevin Stakes at Pleasanton by nine and one-quarter lengths after debuting with an eight-length win at Golden Gate Fields in May. Previously trained by Ellen Jackson, she was transferred to the barn of Peter Miller after the purchase.
Unchain Her Heart held on for second, a half-length in front of Wise Rachel, with Cholula Lips another half-length back in fourth in the field of eight fillies.
“I followed the instructions, break and go,” said Arroyo. “We're not going to change her style, she won on the lead twice already. It's all on the break and we had a good break. It feels very good to win a stake here again, especially for Peter Miller. That's my man.”
“It was a no-brainer with this being a Cal-Bred race,” said Miller. “We've only had her for a few weeks, took it easy with her and just galloped into the race. She came to me in great shape, Ellen (Jackson) did a great job with her and I'm just thankful for the owners that bought this filly and gave her to me. I'm just happy to be having a great meet with all that I've got. Felt like we had good quality, not the quantity like from years past. I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week.”
Bulletproof One earned $57,000 for her third win, increasing her bankroll to $137,400. She returned $3, $2.80 and $2.60. Unchain Her Heart paid $8.20 and $4.40, while Wise Rachel returned $7.40 to show.
The stakes win was the first of the meet and first in the C.T.B.A. for rider Norberto Arroyo, Jr. He now has eight stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the second of the meet and first in the C.T.B.A. for trainer Peter Miller. He now has 26 stakes wins.
The winning owners are Gary Barber of Los Angeles, Aron Wellman of Del Mar and Adam Wachter of Briancliff Manor, New York.
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