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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Horse Racing: Del Mar to host quality bets racing this weekend

Del Mar leaders

through thursday

jockey / win

Juan Hernandez / 14Flavian Pratt / 12Umberto Rispoli / 10Victor Espinoza / 6Ricardo Gonzalez / 6

Instructor / Winner

Bob Baffert / 8 Philip D’Amato / 8 Doug O’Neill / 6 Vladimir Serin / 4 John Sadler / 4

weekend bets

del Mar

Friday

• $250,000 Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup, ages 3 and up, 1 1/2 miles (turf)

Saturday

• $400,000 Grade I Hollywood Derby, 3 year olds, 1 1/8 mile (Turf)• $250,000 Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap, 3 Years old and up, 1 1/16 MI (Turf)• $100,000 Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes, 2-Year-Old Phillies, 1 Mile (Turf)

Sunday

• $400,000 Grade I Matriarch Stakes, Phillies and Mars, Children 3 Years and Up, 1 Mile (Turf) • $100,000 Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes, 2-year-olds, 1 mile (turf)

under stretch

• Peter Miller, 55, recently issued a statement that he is stepping away from training for an undisclosed period and will let his longtime assistant Ruben Alvarado take over his large stables. Miller’s hiatus, which he says is temporary and starts after Sunday’s race, comes on the heels of six of his horses having died since last December. “I am aware that there may be some speculation related to this decision; however, I would like to clarify that it is not the result of any regulatory action, secret agreement or hidden agenda of any kind. It is strictly a personal The decision is there,” Miller said. Miller said he wants to spend more time with his family, focus on his health, and pursue other interests.

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• Del Mar this weekend will shed light on some of the quality bets with its annual Turf Festival, which it inherited after Hollywood Park closed in 2013. The weekend lineup, which began with Thursday’s Grade III red carpet handicap, includes seven stakes races on the grass. Saturday’s $400,000 Grade I Hollywood Derby for three-year-olds and Sunday’s $400,000 Grade I Matriarch Stakes are the two centerpieces for the Phillies and Mars. Trainer Chad Brown has won nine Turf Festival races with an emphasis on Grade I events. He has won the derby and matriarch three times. He hopes to have another large contingent of horses this year.

• Led by 6-5 morning-line favorite Maxfield, Friday’s $750,000 Grade I Clark Stakes at Churchill Downs created a competitive field of eight, including 8-5 second choice Midnight Bourbon. Dr. Post (5-1) and Happy Saver (8-1) can also bully the top pair in a 1 1/8-mile run for kids 3 years and older. Clarke is the nation’s final Grade I race for older horses on dirt, to be announced Thursday, February 10 in Santa Anita, before voting for the Eclipse Awards takes place.

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