California Champions Meet at Del Mar

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By Emily Shields

In a unique twist, 2019 California Champion Two Year Old Males Phantom Boss and El Tigre Terrible will meet on the track in Friday’s Real Good Deal Stakes. The $125,000 sprint over seven furlongs tops the  Friday card at Del Mar.

#4 El Tigre Terrible (2-1) finished off 2019 by winning the Speakeasy Stakes over open company as a 23-1 surprise. He was off from October 6 until June 6, when he ran second in the Desert Code at Santa Anita. He stretched out to a mile here July 10 but struggled, beaten seven lengths with a rough trip. He has won two of three over the track, and the Peter Miller-trained son of Smiling Tiger will be tough to beat under Flavien Prat.

#5 Phantom Boss (6-1) drew alongside. The Jorge Periban trainee takes blinkers off for this. Last year he was a Grade 3 winner at Churchill Downs on the dirt, and was fourth in his lone turf try, the Desert Code. He has not been better than fourth in the last year, but the stretch out to seven furlongs may help the son of Shackleford.

#1 Rookie Mistake (5-2) is the danger hailing from the barn of Doug O’Neill. The sophomore son of Square Eddie has run ten times with two wins, two seconds, and two thirds. He missed by just a head in the Echo Eddie and was fifth in the Desert Code, then outran his odds when fourth at 23-1 in the Oceanside on opening day. Mario Gutierrez rides the colt out of stakes horse Meetmeinthewoods; he will appreciate the cut back to sprinting and switch back to the main track.

#2 Margot’s Boy (4-1) has an upset chance trying dirt for the first time. The Craig Lewis runner has made six career starts on grass with three wins. He is by Clubhouse Ride, but this is his first try sprinting and on the main track, which could be quite the hurdle. Let’s Rejoyce, Clayton Delaney, and Lighting Fast complete the field of seven. Watch every race of the 2020 Del Mar meeting with TVG.

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