In the featured race on Saturday at Del Mar, favorite Awesome Return rallied past his competitors in the stretch and pulled away to win the $93,100 Let It Ride Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths (pictured). He was followed by Number Five, who was a head in front of Cabral. The 3-year-old Awesome Return, ridden by Mike Smith, covered the 1-mile distance over the turf course in 1:34.55. “This was my first time on him, so I really didn’t know what to expect,” Smith said. “But (trainer) Mike (Puype) told me he had a really good turn of foot and that I could count on it. I might have cut him loose sooner than I should have because he was lagging back there, but in the end it didn’t matter. He was just better than all of them today.” Awesome Return is owned by Richard Kritski of Santa Monica.
The first weekend of Del Mar’s fall meet concluded with a win by Reddam Racing’s More Complexity in the $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes for older California-bred fillies and mares. She was piloted by six-time British riding champion Kieren Fallon, who is competing at Del Mar for the first time.
When compared against the opening weekend of the now-shuttered Hollywood Park’s fall meet, attendance and handle were both up. After three days, the total number of fans was 29,076, as opposed to Hollywood’s 10,344. And Del Mar’s on-track handle averaged $1,249,348 per day, as opposed to Hollywood’s $834,298, an increase of 49.7 percent.