Native Diver Stakes Still Going Strong

While HRP was still in its infancy as an online horseracing game back in 2003 ( It seems so long ago! ), one of the earliest stakes events to happen at then Hollywood Park before making the move to DMR in 2014 was the Native Diver Stakes. Amazingly, it still attracts competitors, and now it enters its sixteenth season!

  • Native Diver Stakes ( Gr. III ) – Purse $100.000
  • Del Mar Racetrack – For Three years old and Up
  • One Mile and an Eighth in Distance, Main Track
  • November 23rd, 2019

The Native Diver Stakes has been an interesting combination of tradition and suspense through the years, and it has had its share of stellar races. The first two seasons, a brilliant horse by the name of Alpha Ultimo ( Jerry Garcia Racing ) would take home the covenant award. In his first season, he would capture the BC Mile in late October, and if that wasn’t enough to be proud of, he would add the mile and a half Gr. I HOL Turf winning by eleven lengths, then come back in a mere 14 days and take home this title winning by two.

Other seasons such as 2015 and 2017 we would see dead heat finishes in both those years. Four year old Chonburi ( Emerald Racing Inc ) and five year old Suns Out Guns Out ( Mb Stables ) would finish nose to nose in 2015, while sophomore Face Your Fear ( Luz International ) and five year old Mach Love ( Mb Stables ) would finishes exactly the same two years later. Mb Stables is the only three time winner of this event, while 2012 winner Muzak Professor ( Cps Stables ) still holds the event record time in an amazing 1:46.52. It may be a while before that record falls.

Seven entries have come to the west coast to hopefully add this prestigious award to their list of accomplishments, and surprisingly Mb Stables has not thrown his hat ( or money ) into the ring, so its open for a possible new name to finds its mark on the trophy, or a second title for a group of three.

Weights: Three year olds- 121 Older – 124

Changes: Space Commander– Blinkers on

1 Space Commander ( Nakamura Stables ) Rider- Fuentes Ru.- Both trainer and rider are hoping for their first win in this event. The three year old black was purchased the same day back in August when he was coming off his Shepperton Stakes win up at WO. Has been away an extensive length of time, and most of his past four starts have been in sprint affairs. Will be his first time going this distance in his career, but has finished in the top three in his last races. Recent bullet work here may point to trainer having a handle on things.

2 Made To Sin ( John Henry ) Rider – Bejarano R.– Has enlisted one of the top west coast riders for this event, and while this five year old attempted the grass in his most recent Gr. II DMR Mile finishing seventh, he is quick to get back on the dirt surface once again. Last time he attacked this distance was in the Gr. II New Orleans Handicap back in March at the Fairgrounds, and he managed to close to within a length at the wire. Odds with him of late have not been topnotch, but hopefully his recent bullet work will get him firing once again.

3 Puzzle ( Aer Stables ) Rider – Talamo J. – Jockey has been a regular on Made To Sin most of this season, but now makes the jump to this trainer. Was a recent purchased two days following his fifth place finish in an Alw47 affair on October 19th. Trainer brought him here for two works this month, one on the grass and one off. The bullet work off the grass probably brought his focus to this event. Trainer was able to take three year old Arcas to victory in this first ever DMR event back in 2014, and may have just picked up this thoroughbred to try for number two. Switch to dirt may have fitted the last piece into the Puzzle.

4 Super Freak Out ( Witeout Stables ) Rider – Arroyo N Jr. – Was claimed way back in March of this year out of a claiming event which he won narrowly by a head. Remained away from racing for a good four and a half months before making his return. While he would make a major step up to a OpClm62.5 race over this very track surface, the outcome was less then favorable as he would place tenth, four lengths shy. Now another 90 plus days later, he steps up once again so trainer is feeling confident. He also won this event in 2011 with African Fighter. Will need his best to be productive.

5 Bad English ( Maxmillion Farm ) Rider – Garcia Mar – It has been since early April of this season at today’s distance over at AQU when he nosed out his closest competitor to capture the Gr. III Excelsior. While he was unsuccessful in Grade II and a single Grade I try most recently, he would place second in another Gr. III race, the Seagram Cup Stakes in August. This is definitely the level at which this gray four year old colt performs the best, and his rider is a two time winner of this event in the past. Trainer is no stranger either as he managed a victory back in 2013 with Space Ghost. In the hunt.

6 Grand Command ( Jediminds Stable ) Rider- Valdivia J Jr. – This three year old bay colt has just four career starts to his credit and only one victory coming in his maiden opener of the season. Has been continuously racing at or around the mile mark in all four starts, so the horse has knowledge for the longer distance. Tried an upfront style two starts ago at a mile and a sixteenth, only to leave him fading to fourth. In his most recent, the instructions were varied and he closed to within a length in his second try at a non graded affair. Has the breeding, but step up could be a bit tough for him, unless the instructions are perfect for his rider. Questionable.

7 Champion In Action ( Night Rider Stables ) Rider- Van Dyke D.- Went three straight trips to the winners enclosure in the first part of the season, and the third race was a victory in the prestigious Gr. I Gold Cup across at Santa Anita. That was a mile and a quarter affair, and since that event, the four year old gelding has seen nothing but a mile and a quarter distance in his past three races. All of those races were at the higher Grade I and II levels, so a slip back to this grade and a slightly shorter distance may look to improve on his placings. Has been an upper class runner, so he will definitely need a win here if he is to maintain his active status. Factor


Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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