Azul Coast takes top spot at Grade III, $100,500 Native Diver Stakes

Azul Coast racing to his victory.
Azul Coast racing to his victory.

(Kelley Carlson)

Azul Coast took the lead in the homestretch and held off Kiss Today Goodbye to win the Grade III, $100,500 Native Diver Stakes by a half-length on Nov. 20 at Del Mar. Race favorite Eight Rings was an additional 1 1/4 lengths behind in third.

Jockey Flavien Prat guided Azul Coast over 1 1/8 miles on the dirt track in 1:50.55

“‘Azul’ runs his best races down here,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He likes this track, and he ran really impressive. When I ran him in the Awesome Again (Stakes at Santa Anita), he just laid an egg - he was up there close and I was really disappointed, but he was chasing Medina Spirit. I had no idea how it would set up (today), they were all on their own. I told the jockeys (Baffert had three horses in the race) you guys ride your own races and hopefully we’ll run 1-2-3. I’m happy for the connections, the well has been a little dry lately. Main thing is that we got the ‘w’...”

The owners of Azul Coast are Mike Pegram of Del Mar, and Paul Weitman and Karl Watson of Tucson, Ariz.

In other stakes action during the weekend, Principe Carlo narrowly won the $100,500 Cary Grant Stakes for California-breds.

Del Mar will host a four-day, seven-stakes Turf Festival starting on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25. The fall meet ends Nov. 28.