Pinehurst speeds to a win in Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity

Jockey Mike Smith on Pinehurst after winning the Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 6.
Jockey Mike Smith on Pinehurst after winning the Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 6.
(Kelley Carlson)

New daily average wagering record set for the track during the season


Jockey Mike Smith celebrates his victory aboard Pinehurst (pictured above) in the Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 6, which was closing day for the track’s summer meet.

The 2-year-old bay colt led from start to finish, and was 4 1/2 lengths in front of Finneus at the wire. East Coast-based American Xperiment was another half-length back in third.

Pinehurst completed the 7 furlongs in 1:23.55 over the main track.

“When we ran last time, he (Pinehurst) stumbled pretty badly coming out of there, but he still made the lead,” Smith said. “So I knew he was plenty quick. We beat a horse that day (August 1) named Enbarr, and I knew they were real high on him. So I figured I was sitting on a good horse. When you ride for Bob (trainer Baffert), you ride with confidence. He puts so much foundation under them, and they all come running. So glad I got to win a stakes at Del Mar (this meet), and best to do it with a Grade I.”

The winning owners are Starlight Racing (Jack Wolfe of Louisville, Ky.), SF Racing, Madaket Stables and partners.

In the race prior to the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity, Mackinnon defeated eight competitors in the $102,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf.

Six other stakes races were contested leading up to the final day of the meet: the $301,500, Grade I TVG Del Mar Debutante (won by Grace Adler); the $254,000, Grade II Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby (None Above the Law, trained by Peter Miller of Encinitas); the $201,000, Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes (Going to Vegas, whose owners include Abbondanza Racing/Bing Bush of Del Mar); the $103,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf (Liam’s Dove, trained by Miller); the $102,000 Generous Portion Stakes (Connie Swingle, whose owner and breeder is Nick Alexander of Del Mar and Santa Ynez); and the $100,500 I’m Smokin’ Stakes (Joker Boy).

According to a news release, a new daily average wagering record of $18.38 million was set for the track during the season, besting last year’s record of $17.32 million. The total handle for the 2021 meet was $569.98 million for 31 days of racing, while the 2020 total handle was $467.6 million for 27 days of racing.

Although he was away for three weekends during the Del Mar meet to accept assignments in New York and Chicago, jockey Flavien Prat still piloted the most winners, with 47. Miller notched his second straight summer meet training title, with 26 wins from 143 starters. The leading owner for money won and number of wins was Hronis Racing, as it earned $1,020,440 and had eight victories.

Racing will return to the seaside oval on Nov. 3. It will host its second Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Nov. 5 and 6.