Hunt, Isotherm cir­cle stakes on cal­en­dar

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Jay Priv­man

DEL MAR, Calif. – Hunt didn’t make it to Ken­tucky for the Breed­ers’ Cup. Isotherm did but might as well have stayed home, as he was no fac­tor in the Dirt Mile. It was not a par­tic­u­larly memorable Breed­ers’ Cup for trainer Phil D’Amato, but he’s ready to re­group with both of those run­ners at Del Mar, as both are among those he ex­pects to run in graded stakes at the end of the sea­son here.

Hunt was in­tended for the Mile on turf but did not travel to Ken­tucky when he spiked a tem­per­a­ture.

He has since re­cov­ered and is point­ing to the Grade 2, $200,000 Se­abis­cuit Hand­i­cap go­ing 1 1/16 miles on turf Nov. 24, a race he won last year.

Hunt has won nine times in 29 starts and is less than $100,000 shy of earn­ing $1 mil­lion. He has raced just three times this year, his big­gest win com­ing in the Grade 1 Shoe­maker Mile at Santa Anita in May in his first start of the year.

Isotherm fin­ished last of nine in the Dirt Mile. He came out of the race fine and will be pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Na­tive Diver go­ing 1 1/8 miles on the main track Nov. 25.

“A lot of the Cal­i­for­nia horses ei­ther loved or hated the sur­face at Churchill Downs,” D’Amato said Fri­day. “He hated it. He kept run­ning in place in that sand.”

Isotherm, 5, has now lost 10 straight since his vic­tory in the Grade 2 San Mar­cos at Santa Anita in Fe­bru­ary 2017. He was third be­hind Ac­cel­er­ate – the sub­se­quent win­ner of the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic – and West Coast in the Grade 1 Awe­some Again in his race prior to the Dirt Mile.

El­liott out with ap­pen­dec­tomy

Vet­eran jockey Ste­wart El­liott will have surgery to re­move his ap­pen­dix in the com­ing days and will not ride the Del Mar fall meet­ing, his agent, Nel­son Ar­royo, said Fri­day, open­ing day of the meet.

Ar­royo said El­liott has been told he will side­lined for a month and thus will not be re­turn­ing be­fore the Del Mar meet ends Dec. 2.

El­liott, 53, is best known for win­ning the Ken­tucky Derby on Smarty Jones in 2004. He has won 4,827 races. He rode through the end of the Santa Anita meet­ing last Sun­day but took ill this week.

Del Mar to host vet­er­ans

Two mil­i­tary vet­er­ans deal­ing with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der who are us­ing re­tired race­horses to help them cope will be hosted at Del Mar on Sun­day and Mon­day through the gen­eros­ity of trainer Jerry Hol­len­dor­fer, who along with his wife, Janet, pro­vided a ma­jor por­tion of the seed money for Down the Stretch Ranch, which is based in Wash­ing­ton state.

Down the Stretch Ranch is over­seen by Boone McCanna, the brother of trainer Tim McCanna and a for­mer jockey agent for the likes of Vann Belvoir and Den­nis Carr. Down the Stretch, now four years in op­er­a­tion, has 26 off-thetrack race­horses who in­ter­act with the vet­er­ans. The fa­cil­ity was an­nounced on Mon­day as hav­ing been ac­cred­ited by the Thor­ough­bred Af­ter­care Al­liance.

“The vet­er­ans are com­ing in Satur­day night. They’ll be at the races Sun­day and Mon­day. They haven’t been to the races be­fore,” Boone McCanna said. “Both are Iraqi war vets.”

In ad­di­tion to Hol­len­dor­fer, McCanna said he has re­ceived sup­port from such South­ern Cal­i­for­nia horse­men as owner­breeder Nick Alexan­der, who do­nated a truck to be used at the ranch.

Down the Stretch is lo­cated about 50 miles west of Spokane in Cre­ston, Wash. McCanna has liv­ing quar­ters on the prop­erty so that vet­er­ans can stay overnight.

“They usu­ally want to come for two nights, and they’ll end up stay­ing two weeks,” he said.

Among the horses on the prop­erty are such fa­mil­iar names as Hol­len­dor­fer-trained re­tirees Exit Stage Left, Oli­garch, and Trum­pet Player Jay. Oli­garch, a 10-year-old geld­ing, won nine times in 45 starts – in­clud­ing the 2011 Trop­i­cal Park Derby at Calder – and earned $332,761 in a ca­reer that ended in December 2016 at Golden Gate Fields.

“Oli­garch is so good with th­ese guys. He’s one of the smartest horses around,” McCanna said.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at down­thestretch.org.

◗ Fans who are mem­bers of Del Mar’s Di­a­mond Club get free ad­mis­sion, a free re­served seat, and a free pro­gram on Sun­days this sea­son and are en­ti­tled to half-priced ad­mis­sion and spe­cial dis­counts the other days of the meet. For in­stance, $30 worth of foodand-bev­er­age vouch­ers can be pur­chased for $20.

◗ Vet­er­ans with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion will be ad­mit­ted free to Del Mar both Sun­day and Mon­day.

◗ There is Mon­day rac­ing this open­ing week­end, ow­ing to the Vet­er­ans Day holiday. The track will be dark next week on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, then re­sume rac­ing on a Thurs­day-through-Sun­day sched­ule through clos­ing day, Dec. 2.

◗ The ma­jor stakes at the end of the meet, such as the Grade 1 Matriarch and Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, are among those clos­ing on Thurs­day. David Jerkens, Del Mar’s rac­ing sec­re­tary, said he ex­pects an­other ma­jor in­flux of East Coast-based run­ners for the stakes-filled turf fes­ti­val.

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