Racing resumes Friday at Del Mar after three racing dates were canceled last weekend, when 15 jockeys and seven track workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
The seaside oval will have a long weekend of racing with the track running races on Monday, July 27, as one of the makeup dates.
Del Mar, like other race tracks across the country, is restricting its riding colony to in-state jockeys as a safety precaution to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection and spread.
Jockeys who choose to race in other states and major stakes races outside of California will not be allowed to race during the remainder of the Del Mar summer meet.
SAN DIEGO HANDICAP HEADLINES SATURDAY RACING
Saturday’s 11-race card is headlined by the $150,000 San Diego Handicap (Grade 2). The 1 1/16 mile race features Maximum Security, now trained by Bob Baffert. Maximum Security (1/1) is a heavy favorite running against just five rivals, and Baffert likes the look of this multiple Grade 1 winner in his barn.
“He’s actually very easy to train. He’s real classy. He’s a big, aggressive horse. I’ve seen a really good horse breeze, a really good horse train.”
With Luis Saez out with a positive coronavirus test, Abel Cedillo rides Maximum Security for the first time with the colt, returning from a 5-month layoff. Maximum Security won the $20 million Saudi Cup in February. Less than a month later, his trainer Jason Servis was arrested on federal indictment charges. Servis had his license suspended for using illegal medications on horses in his care.
Higher Power (7/2) is the biggest threat to upend Maximum Security. Higher Power won the 2019 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, and ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Most recently, he had a runner-up finish last month in the Hollywood Gold Cup (Grade 1). Regular rider Flavien Prat also returns to ride after being in quarantine for the past 10 days following a positive coronavirus test.
The other race to watch with interest Saturday is the $150,000 San Clemente (Grade 2) for 3-year-old fillies. The 1-mile race on the turf drew 10 runners.
On Sunday, the $200,000 Eddie Read Stakes (Grade 2) drew seven runners going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. California’s leading marathon turf runner United (8/5) is the favorite.
Monday’s card at Del Mar includes 10 races. On Saturday, Aug. 1, Del Mar hosts the Shared Belief Stakes, a Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points race. Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A. P. is expected to run in the Shared Belief.
Del Mar’s signature race, the $500,000 Pacific Classic (Grade 1) at 1 1/4 miles, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22 and will also feature Maximum Security if he remains healthy.