Greeley Awesome, who came within a neck of giving owner Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler a sweep of the two Oceanside Stakes divisions on opening day at Del Mar, makes his return in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap on the turf Aug. 10.
Eighth on the turn in the one-mile Oceanside after racing in tight early, Greeley Awesome finished quite willingly to just miss when second at 14-1 odds to Gervinho in the earlier of the two divisions of the one-mile test July 17. A couple of races later, 7-1 shot Rising Legend came from off the pace to post a head victory in the Oceanside for the Sadler/Hronis team.
Neither Rising Legend or Gervinho entered the La Jolla, the last major stakes prep for the $300,000 Del Mar Derby Sept. 1. At 1 1/16 miles, the La Jolla is the eighth on Del Mar's Saturday card with a scheduled post time of 5:40 p.m. PDT. It drew a field of nine sophomores.
Greeley Awesome was claimed for $40,000 out a turf race at Betfair Hollywood Park June 9 that he won by 3 ¼ lengths. The son of Mr. Greeley made a good impression in his first start for his new connections and looks to continue the momentum with Julien Leparoux back aboard. This is the graded stakes debut for the bay colt, who breaks from post 5 under 116 pounds.
Mercedes Stable's Freakin Rocket had the lead in the stretch of the earlier Oceanside but couldn't hold off Gervinho and Greeley Awesome late and settled for third, beaten by 1 ½ lengths. The son of Rock Hard Ten was not only making his stakes debut in the Oceanside, it was also his initial try on turf and around two turns for trainer Tim Yakteen. Improvement can be expected with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith returning to ride.
Three others come out of the late Oceanside division -- Rosengold (fourth), Si Sage (fifth), and Den's Legacy (sixth).
William Currin's Rosengold had three consecutive stakes wins on turf coming into the Oceanside. The son of Stormello, trained by Julio Canani, set a good pace last time but weakened late and was edged for third.
Si Sage, a French-bred racing for Red Baron's Barn and partners and trainer Darrell Vienna, made a good showing in his United States debut. But after stalking the leaders into the stretch, he was out-kicked late.
Westrock Stables' Den's Legacy, a Triple Crown factor earlier this year for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, also lacked much punch in the lane and finished a neck behind Si Sage. The Medaglia d'Oro colt won the Generous Stakes on the Hollywood Park turf as a 2-year-old last November.
Dice Flavor and Dry Summer switch to turf from the main track. Dice Flavor was third in the four-horse Swaps Stakes last time for trainer Paddy Gallagher July 4 on Cushion Track at Hollywood. The Scat Daddy colt broke his maiden on the Hollywood lawn last December.
Dry Summer won the Borderland Derby in February but was eighth of nine in the Sunland Park Derby in his most recent start. Trained by Jeff Mullins for owners Michael House and Sam Britt, the son of Any Given Saturday has since been gelded. Dry Summer owns a win over the Del Mar grass, taking the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf last September.
Completing the field are Uno Dos Adios, a first-level allowance winner for trainer Bill Spawr at Hollywood June 27, and Pure Loyalty, a troubled eighth in an allowance/optional claiming race July 19 on the Del Mar turf.