Sharp Samurai has done little wrong since switching to the turf and Sunday's GII Del Mar Derby was no exception. The bay launched a strong rally to the front and held off a late bid from Big Score (Mr. Big) to earn the second graded stakes success of his young career. The Mark Glatt trainee was sent off as the 2-1 post-time favorite. Racing in midpack behind fractions of :24.10 and :48.91, Sharp Samurai swung to the outside coming off the turn and rallied to strike the front in upper stretch. Kept to his task by Gary Stevens, he had plenty left in the tank to hold the runner-up, who spent the first half of the year competing on the East Coast, at bay.
“This is very exciting,” said Glatt. “I thought he was well-placed early, in the clear which is where we wanted to be. We didn't think they'd be going very fast and when they don't go fast they have a tendency to bunch. Gary rode him perfectly, pushed the button exactly when he needed to and the horse responded.”
Winner of the Rainbow S. over nine furlongs on the Santa Anita turf June 10, Sharp Samurai made it two-in-a-row with a hard-fought tally in the GIII La Jolla H. here Aug. 6.
Canadian stakes winner Secret Wish is a half-sister to the filly Academic (Henny Hughes), who won the 2015 Woodbine Oaks prior to besting males in the GIII Canadian Derby and GIII British Columbia Derby. Secret Wish is also kin to Awesome Fire (Strong
Contender), winner of the grassy 2012 Wonder Where S.
and third in that year's Woodbine Oaks. Sharp Samurai is the
last of two listed foals for his dam.
Sunday, Del Mar Derby
DEL MAR DERBY-GII, $251,725, DMR, 9-3, 3yo, 1 1/8mT, 1:48.03, fm.
1–SHARP SAMURAI, 122, g, 3, by First Samurai
1st Dam: Secret Wish (SW, $188,908), by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Awesome Lass, by Awesome Again
3rd Dam: Smart n' Irish, by Smarten
($85,000 Ylg '15 KEESEP). O-Red Baron's Barn LLC, Rancho
Temescal LLC & Mark Glatt; B-Cudney Stables (KY); T-Mark
Glatt; J-Gary L. Stevens. $150,000. Lifetime Record: 8-5-0-0,
$345,870. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Big Score, 122, c, 3, Mr. Big–Not Unusual, by Unusual Heat.
O/B-George Krikorian (KY); T-Tim Yakteen. $50,000.3–Bowies Hero, 122, c, 3, Artie Schiller–Remembered, by Sky
Mesa. ($16,000 RNA Wlg '14 KEENOV; $17,000 Ylg '15 KEESEP;
$32,000 2yo '16 EASMAY). O-Agave Racing Stable & Hebert
Bloodstock; B-Pope McLean, Pope McLean Jr. & Marc McLean
(KY); T-Philip D'Amato. $30,000.Margins: HF, HF, NK. Odds: 2.30, 3.30, 3.40.
Also Ran: Colonist, Fashion Business (GB), Ritzy A. P., Double Touch (GB), Monster Man, Marckie's Water, Harbour Master (GB). Scratched: Sorry Erik. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.