Gold Phoenix Defends His DMR H. Title, On to Breeders' Cup Turf

Gold Phoenix | Horsephotos

Gold Phoenix (Ire) (Belardo {Ire}) will get a second chance at the GI Breeders' Cup Turf. With a win in Del Mar's GII Del Mar H., the 5-year-old gelding earned a 'Win And You're In' spot in the gate for the November event. 10th behind Rebel's Romance (Dubawi {Ire}) in last year's rendition of the race, Gold Phoenix rebounded in 2023 with a pair of graded-stakes wins including a narrow victory in the GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile S. to start his year March 23. Though he faltered in both the GII Charles Whittingham S. and the GI Shoemaker Mile S., he entered Saturday's spot off a win in the GII Eddie Read S. July 30.

Favored at 5-2 in a race he also won in similar fashion last year, Gold Phoenix broke smoothly from the outside and let the inside horses clear him, settling near the rear of the field as Azul Coast (Super Saver) and Crosby Beach (Gormley) handled the tempo. Comfortably at the back past the wire for the first time and into the backstretch, the favorite didn't begin to move until the group started to stack up around the far turn. Splitting horses past the quarter pole, he found a seam six wide into the stretch, dove through and still found more than enough to win despite a tardy lead change in the final yards.

“Plan A was to save ground,” said Juan Hernandez. “My horse relaxed really well today and was so patient. This time I go outside because I had a lot of horses in front of me. So I say I want to swing out and see if I can find something. If not I can go back inside. But I was able to find some space to come through, and after that he flew for home. He is getting better every race. Last time he was a little closer and he was able to keep up that space and able to win that race. I just have to wait and he loved the distance.”

Pedigree Note:

Gold Phoenix is the sole winner produced to date out of a full-sister to G1SW Sea Defence and MGSW Jibboom, herself the dam of GSW Flying Jib (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) and GSP Accede (Into Mischief). Belardo (Ire), by Lope de Vega (Ire), stood at Darley's Kildangan Stud until last year before moving to Bearstone Stud in Shropshire for 2023. Magnifica foaled a full-brother to Saturday's winner last year and reported a filly by Lucky Vega (Ire) this spring.

Saturday, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
DEL MAR H. PRESENTED BY THE JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION-GII, $303,000, Del Mar, 9-2, 3yo/up, 1 3/8mT, 2:15.34, fm.
1–GOLD PHOENIX (IRE), 124, g, 5, by Belardo (Ire)
                1st Dam: Magnifica, by Mizzen Mast
                2nd Dam: Palisade, by Gone West
                3rd Dam: Peplum, by Nijinsky II
(€24,000 RNA Ylg '19 GOFSPT). O-Little Red Feather Racing, Sterling Stables, LLC and Marsha Naify; B-Mighty Universe Ltd (IRE); T-Philip D'Amato; J-Juan J. Hernandez. $180,000. Lifetime Record: GISW, 15-6-3-3, $1,017,757. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Nineeleventurbo, 118, g, 6, More Than Ready–Rosalie Road, by Street Cry (Ire). 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($300,000 Wlg '17 KEENOV). O-Stepaside Farm, LLC; B-C.W. Swann & Wetherbee Holdings, Ltd. (KY); T-Neil D. Drysdale. $60,000.
3–Cash Equity (Fr), 120, g, 5, Toronado (Ire)–Funny Crazy (Fr), by Chichicastenango (Fr). 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. (€20,000 Ylg '19 AROYRG; €245,000 3yo '21 ARARC). O-Madaket Stables LLC, Michael Dubb and William Strauss; B-S.C.E.A. Des Prairies, Thomas Jeffroy & Benoit Jeffroy (FR); T-Philip D'Amato. $36,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, NO, NO. Odds: 2.50, 13.50, 10.70.
Also Ran: Missed the Cut, Planetario (Brz), Cathkin Peak (Ire), Offlee Naughty, None Above the Law, Win the Day, Crosby Beach, Azul Coast.
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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