By Del Mar Publicity
Majestic Heat, the 3-2 betting choice piloted by Del Mar’s leading rider this summer, Flavien Prat, held on gallantly in the final strides to nose out the onrushing longshot, Tiz a Kiss, and win the featured $150,000 Solana Beach Handicap Sunday.
Majestic Heat opened a clear lead in midstretch but then was fully extended to hold off the 14-1 Tiz a Kiss, who was handled by Kent Desormeaux. Singing Kitty, 9-5 second choice in the field of ten California-bred older fillies and mares, was third, two and one-quarter lengths farther back, with Mangita, the early pacemaker, fading to fourth. Minster’sadventure was withdrawn from the original line-up.
Majestic Heat, a four-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat, is owned by Auerbach, McCauley and Bardy Farm and trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella. The victory was her fourth in nine starts and first prize of $85,500 increased her earnings to $254,794. Last summer, she was fifth to Sharla Rae in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks.
As the favorite, Majestic Heat paid $5, $3.40 and $2.60. Tiz a Kiss returned $9.20 and $4.60, while Singing Kitty paid $2.40 to show.
Prat had a saddle double, also winning the second race aboard Eddie Haskell at $8.80. Also doubling Sunday was Rafael Bejarano, who scored with Hobbits Hero at $9 in the sixth and American Gal at $4.80 in the seventh.
After 23 days of the 39-day season, Prat has 23 victories, to 21 for Santiago Gonzalez, who won once Sunday, with Bejarano next with 20 triumphs. Bejarano is the four-time reigning champion at Del Mar.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Majestic Heat, winner) – “Excellent trip for me. She’s got a high cruising speed and she was right where I wanted her to be. At the end, I thought I’d won it, but I wasn’t sure. It turned out well. The competition here at this meet (among riders) is very tough. It’s a good thing. You have to work hard and ride hard. It’s good.”
KENT DESORMEAUX (Tiz a Kiss, second) – “I needed one more centimeter of racetrack. That’s all. Credit to the winner. When he asked her, she exploded. But so did my mare. The other horse took off on us and we had to get serious. When we did, we just missed.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Singing Kitty, third) – “My filly ran good. We had the good trip and she fired. But the two in front of us were best. Salute to them.”
RICHARD MANDELLA (Majestic Heat, winner) — “From where I was sitting it looked like we won it by a head. Then I looked at the replay and ‘Whoa, let’s not get too excited too quickly here.’” There wasn’t any speed in the race. The 1 (Mangita) figured it out and went. We figured it out and made sure we weren’t too far behind. It looked like when she opened up on them she kind of waited for them to come to her and almost got caught. I had her in the Yellow Ribbon (July 16) but she got colic and I had to scratch her. That’s how we ended up here.”
FRACTIONS: :23.00 :47.64 1:12.04 1:23.38 1:34.98
The stakes win was the fourth of the meet for rider Prat (the most by any jockey at the session), but his first in the Solana Beach. He now has eight stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Mandella and his first in the Solana Beach. He now has 59 stakes wins at Del Mar, fifth most among all trainers.