Butter Ball Gets Top Weight for Seabiscuit Handicap

Talk about the ideal name for a thoroughbred competing this Thanksgiving weekend! The four year old bay gelding from the Aml Racing barns is hoping his most recent Alw33 victory and his four wins in eight starts this season will help him come out on top here at DMR on Saturday. Its been two years since his last visit to this oval, so hopefully this will be a memorable return.

  • Seabiscuit Handicap ( Gr. II ) Purse $200.000
  • Del Mar Race Track- For Three years old and Up
  • One Mile and a sixteenth – Turf Course
  • November 30th, 2019

A total of nine runners will hit the turf here on Saturday to try and add the Seabiscuit Handicap to their resume of wins. While only two sophomore will make up part of this field, and we will also see a one time winner in nineteen starts try to change his luck as well, the event looks to hold possibly some surprises down the stretch on the way to the wire. Weights will vary from 118 pounds up to 121 pounds for Butter Ball, but with just a three pound variance, I can guarantee that no one will be doing the “Turkey trot” to the wire. Track conditions as of Friday show a soft turf, so we may see a yielding turf come race day?

CHANGES: Grayte King – Bute added

1 Grayte King ( Gdp Inc ) Rider- Velez J L ( 18.3% Turf) – Pretty much labelled a turf sprinter this season having not gone longer than five and a half furlongs in his past six starts. Was sold by this trainer back in April of last season and now is back to try and find the magic. Recent work over seven furlongs of 1:22 and four breezing at PRX may have pointed him in the direction of stretching it out. Is a big step up from what he has been use too, but he has run with the big boys in his past. Rail is a plus.

2 Creme Fraiche ( Maxmillion Farm ) Rider- Gutierrez Mario ( 19.2% Turf) – First of two runners for this trainer. Was a June purchase as well and since making the switch, he returned a victory last time out in the $100.000 English Channel Stakes going a mile on the grass at AQU. Went to front in the JC Derby two starts ago, but the longer mile and a half distance and the longer stretch drive over at BEL left him out of the race near the wire. This distance should suit his running style, and if we see a softer footing, may very well get out early to avoid the bath. Here’s hoping things don’t go sour today.

3 Lets Do It Big Boy ( RNP Stables ) Rider- Van Dyke D ( 12.3% Turf ) – Is coming off a fifth place finish in the Gr. I BC Turf event four weeks ago, and with his effort from that event, he should be getting a few backers at the windows. This five year old is a progeny of Cherokee Sunset, but he has struggled in 13 starts this season coming up with just one win in the Gr. II Knickerbocker Hdcp. two starts ago. He would earn a 100 SRF figure for his efforts in that affair and is hoping for a similar outcome here. Searching back he place fourth, four times over wet sod, so hopefully if we have those conditions here, he can overcome that outcome.

4 Portal ( Nakamura Stables ) Rider- Garcia Mar ( 13.5% Turf ) – Is three for five this seasons in victories, and now he looks to get some success at this Grade II level. Was three for three when he first ran for this trainer earlier in the season after a winter layoff, and did manage a victory in his first ever turf try capturing the Buckeye Native Stakes. Two starts ago was a complete disaster when he raced at this track for a shot at the Gr. II DMR Handicap going a mile and three eights, placing some 23 lengths out at the wire. Hopefully what ever was troubling him late in that event is now over, and he will be in the hunt today.

5 Siberian Prince ( Sir Daniel Martin ) Rider- Bejarano R ( 22.6% Turf ) While this trainer has only raced in 93 events leading up to this affair, the horses $1,356.680 in total career earnings has attracted a top jockey for this race. Is coming off a victory in an OpClm80 affair over this grass surface, and in a sharp time of 1:32.39. Will be one who will be keeping a close eye on the track footing for this event as he has had little success over off tracks, and could become a possible late scratch on race day. Definitely should be competitive if the surface is favorable, and could possibly steal the show.

6 The Force Awakens ( Diablo Diablo ) Rider- Baze T C ( 18.2%Turf ) – Another one in this group who made his first debut on the grass in the upper Gr. II Nijinsky Stakes up at WO where he came home victorious with a half length victory and a 103 SRF number for his efforts two seasons ago. This year has not been kind to him as he has struggled to find the winners enclosure in seven starts. He did compete in this very event last season where he would go runner-up to Awesome Indeed (TwinTowersRacing) who has retired and moved to the breeding barns for trainer Axeman. Here’s hoping he can walk away with the title this season and not go runner-up once again. This winless streak needs to end and soon, or he too may find himself with the ladies. Actually, that doesn’t sound half bad!!

7 The Duke Of Phooey ( Maxmillion Farm ) Rider- Fuentes Ru ( 14.6% Turf )- Has just a single win in eight starts this season, but has finished in the top three six times this season, so he knows how to race for a share. 13 is definitely a lucky number for this four year old, as it took that many tries to break his maiden. That has been his lone victory in nineteen career starts, but still his trainer believes that one day he is going to instantly show his talents and get on his winning ways. He can seem to get to a show finish in six of those events, now it’s finding the right instructions and ideal distance to get him to break through. I don’t see it happening today, but hopefully soon.

8 Laffin Jamie ( High Voltage ) Rider- Arroyo N Jr. ( 17.5% Turf ) – Has one win in nine starts this year and that came at today’s distance over at Gulfstream when he captured the Gr. III Palm Beach by three lengths. Hopefully he still has that victory stored in his memory and he can bring it to the surface here. Has competed at this distance three times in his career, with a win, a place and a show finish to his credit, so today’s race should fit the bill at getting another share. Trainer picked up Crush Space for a mere fifteen bucks and took him to a Gr I victory in the Ballerina in just his second season here at HRP, and a victory today would complete having a win in all three Graded levels.

9 Butter Ball ( Aml Racing ) Rider- Maldonado E ( 21.3% Turf)- Both trainer and rider are firing at a twenty percent win ratio this season and they both would like to add this event as well. It will be the riders first time in the irons aboard this four year old, and he is probably hoping that he will get an off track surface where his horse seems to shine. Has two recent victories in an Alw33 affair and the Gr. III Poker Run Stakes where in both he went to the top and never looked back. Breaking from this outside post should have him quick out of the gate to find the front, and if he gets the footing, he may run away with it all once again.

HighlightMaxmillion Farm – Some have said he is opinionated, some have questioned his style of training, some have even called him an S.O.B., but even if he happens to fit these narratives, one thing you can definitely say about Max, just like Sinatra, he did it “his ” way. Now about to close out his 12th full season here at HRP after he gained a single victory in 13 starts with On The Contrary in 07 in a claiming two dollar race, which he lost the horse from that event. He is about to have his second season of competing in over 1,000 races, and while there were a couple of some lesser years, it is looking like he will finally surpass some $17,000.000 in earning this year, his best yet. I rarely see anyone have the passion for horseracing as Max does, or the patience to find a thoroughbred that may have the underlying potential to become a winner, and he will stick with that horse until he can bring it out in him or her. There is also an undying faith that he has in his stable, that ever horse has his ideal distance or level of competition, and its his job to find it, no second guessing, no shortcuts, just hard work and dedication.

While he has yet to capture a Triple Crown title or a BC event to his credit, he has stuck to what he feels is right and true for the game. I remember him saying following this year BC races, ” As well to all who had horses make it to the BC…..Not an easy task….And for those who aspire…..Everyone can get there. Keep your head down and eye on the prize….. ” That to me doesn’t sound like someone who is opinionated or an S.O.B., but someone who cares about his fellow man and that will support peoples efforts to do their best and to never give up!. I thank you Max for you friendship in the past, and hopefully “YOU” keeps your eye on the prize as well and find one of those major victories really soon. Congrats on a brilliant season.

Duffer



Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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