October 28, 2021

Smooth Like Strait, Hit the Road to meet again in Del Mar Mile; Going Global, Madone rematch set in Del Mar Oaks

Smooth Like Strait wins the 2021 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita (Benoit Photo)

The Pacific Classic (G1) and Del Mar H. (G2) will award expense-paid berths to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Turf (G1), respectively, and Del Mar will offer three other graded stakes on Saturday’s blockbuster 11-race program.

Del Mar Mile (G2) – Race 7 (8 p.m. ET)

After splitting two previous matchups, Smooth Like Strait and Hit the Road will renew their rivalry in the $300,000 Del Mar Mile (G2). They’re the top draws in a nice field of six.

A six-time stakes victor, including a convincing tally at odds-on in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) two back, Smooth Like Straight should relish the cut back after a neck second to United in the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read (G2) on July 24. The four-year-old Midnight Lute is a two-time stakes winner at Del Mar, including a victory over Hit the Road in a Grade 3 event, and Smooth Like Strait will be the one to catch. Umberto Rispoli rides for Michael McCarthy.

Hit the Road has captured 2-of-3 of starts at Del Mar, and he rallied to edge Smooth Like Strait by a neck when capturing the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in early March. That capped a four-race win streak, and the four-year-old colt has been freshened 4 1/2 months since a fifth as the favorite in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland. By More Than Ready, the Dan Blacker trainee will retain the services of Florent Geroux.

Mo Forza will make a title defense, rolling to a 4 1/4-length decision last year. Unraced since winning the City of Hope Mile (G2) last fall, the five-year-old returns off a 322-day layoff for Peter Miller, and Flavien Prat has the call on the five-time stakes hero. Neptune’s Storm exits a win in the July 18 Wickerr S. at Del Mar, and Count Again captured the Seabiscuit (G2) over the course last fall. Grade 1 winner Next Shares, who will need to turn things around following four straight unplaced outings, rounds out the cast.

Del Mar Oaks (G1) – Race 9 (9 p.m. ET)

Going Global reeled off four straight stakes wins after shipping to U.S. over the winter, but her win streak came to an end in July 24 San Clemente S. (G2) at Del Mar, finishing a half-length second as the 2-5 choice. She will try to make amends for the surprising setback in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1).

Prat will be up for Phil D’Amato on the Irish-bred daughter of Mehmas.

After proving no match for Going Global in the Honeymoon (G3) in late May, Madone exacted a measure of revenge in the San Clemente, rallying from far back to edge her rival in the final strides. The Vancouver filly loves Del Mar’s turf, improving to 3-for-3, and she’s won 5-of-7 career attempts for Phil D’Amato. Juan Hernandez has the call.

Nine sophomore fillies will square off in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair, and Lake George (G2) runner-up Fluffy Socks ships in for Chad Brown. She hasn’t won from three starts this year, recording a pair of runner-up finishes, but the daughter of Slumber did ship to Del Mar to win the Jimmy Durante (G3) in her juvenile finale. Joel Rosario will guide.

Other runners include Closing Remarks, Javanica, and Tetragonal.

Torrey Pines S. (G3) – Race 6 (7:30 p.m. ET)

Winner of the restricted Fleet Treat S. on July 23, I’m So Anna will return to open company in the $100,000 Torrey Pines S. (G3). Her main rivals, Forest Caraway, Lady Mystify, and Private Mission, are exiting sharp entry-level allowance wins earlier in the meet.

Seven three-year-old fillies will contest the mile affair on the main track.