Mandella enjoying environs, seeks wins from 3 maidens
DEL MAR, Calif. – Some trainers bring their entire barn to Del Mar for the fall meet; most only ship in. Richard Mandella brought half his barn, “just enough for a good excuse to stay,” he said.
Mandella, whose main residence is not far from Santa Anita in Pasadena, has a home near here in Cardiff by the Sea. But, as his fellow Hall of Famer Woody Stephens used to say, Mandella is here for the reason, not the season.
Mandella will send out three runners on Saturday’s ninerace card, all maidens, including a pair of 2-year-old fillies who are in split divisions of a one-mile grass race.
Tapwater, a Tapit filly who goes in race 9, looks to have the best chance of the Mandella trio. She was a distant second to the highly regarded Mother Mother in her lone start going six furlongs on dirt during the summer meet here July 22. This will be her second start.
“She ran well first time out,” Mandella said as he watched his horses train Thursday morning. “She’s a frail thing. She needed to grow up a little bit. She should like a mile on grass.”
In the first division of that maiden race, which goes as race 5, Mandella will send out first-time starter Truffalino, a daughter of male turf champ English Channel out of a Kitten’s Joy mare.
“She’s just trained so-so on dirt, but she’s bred for turf,” Mandella said.
He’ll also start the comebacking Spanish Bay in race 1, a five-furlong maiden race for older runners. Spanish Bay, a son of Tapit who has not raced in 13 months, has been gelded since his last start.
Those three are among the horses who will keep Mandella occupied until some of his stable stars, like Anonymity, the third-place finisher last Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, return to action.
Mandella said Anonymity, currently at Santa Anita, is “getting a little breather” before embarking on her 2019 campaign. He said he thought she was a winner at midstretch last week.
“She got a little intimidated in traffic. It got tight in there, but she kept coming,” Mandella said.
Mandella said he would look to stretch out Anonymity around two turns next year.
“I think going farther, she might be better,” he said.
Keibar Coa riding fall meet
Keibar Coa was to ride opening day at Del Mar on Friday, head to Gulfstream Park on Saturday, but be back for Sunday’s races and will ride here this meet, his agent, Joe Griffin, said Thursday morning.
Coa, 26, has won 179 races in a career that began in earnest in 2012. He rode at Delaware Park this summer and fall, his last mount there on Oct. 20, and has had one mount since, riding in a stakes race at Santa Anita for trainer Tom Proctor.
“He’s out here with Proctor,” Griffin said.
Koa is the son of Eibar Coa, 47, who won 4,080 races in North America – including the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Big Drama – before his career ended following an accident in 2011.
Enhanced security for concerts
Del Mar will have metal detectors installed for its two post-race concerts this season following an incident the final weekend of the summer meet in which an irate patron was shot after firing his gun at the admission gates when denied entry to an Ice Cube concert.
The first concert at the fall meet is Saturday, with the reggae band Pepper. The second concert is Nov. 24, featuring Easton Corbin.
Patrons with bags will have to go through one line in order to have them searched. There will be an express line for those without bags. Del Mar employees wearing identification badges, anyone holding a California Horse Racing Board license, or anyone needing access owing to the Americans With Disabilities Act will have a third lane.
The security will be set up on the apron at the crossover from the track’s grandstand to the concert area at the west end of the property.
“We want to get the word out so that our fans can allow for any extra time they may need to get in,” said Ann Hall, Del Mar’s vice president of human resources and administration.
Richard Mandella trains Anonymity, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.