Del Mar’s Fall Turf Festival Attracts Some Big Name Trainers, Shippers – Horse Racing News

Del Mar’s Fall Turf Festival Attracts Some Big Name Trainers, Shippers – Horse Racing News


The eight races that make up this year’s Fall Turf Festival at Del Mar are beginning to take shape and the potential group of East Coast and Midwest invaders make up an impressive lineup. The first race, the G3 Red Carpet, was drawn Saturday and will be run on Thanksgiving Day.

The G2 Hollywood Turf Cup is scheduled for Friday. It’s attracted the attention of several top-name trainers who have nominated horses for the 12-furlong turf event.

Trainer Bill Mott has nominated Mooney Love. Christophe Clement is considering shipping Soldier Rising and Brendan Walsh may bring G3 Dowager winner Temple City Terror.

The G2 Seabiscuit, run on Saturday, rounds out the first weekend’s portion of the Fall Turf Festival. The out-of-towners nominated for the race include G1 Arlington Million winner Santin from the Brendan Walsh barn; Brad Cox’ Set Piece; Christophe Clement’s City Man; Victoria Oliver’s Kentucky Ghost, and Wootton Asset from the Graham Motion barn.

Del Mar Racing Secretary David Jerkens said it’s nice to see the pre-Covid interest in the Fall Turf Festival from so many out-of-town trainers.

“From what we’ve seen in the Turf Cup and the Seabiscuit, it looks like we’re on par with most years in terms of out-of-town interest,” Jerkens said.

The Fall Turf Festival offers something that’s hard to come by this time of year in horse racing, graded stakes turf racing.

“Where the races are located and the time frame,” Jerkens said in regards to the appeal of the Festival. “Obviously, at the end of the year turf opportunities back east are limited so it fits a certain time when there’s not as much competition. Plus, Grade 1’s in early December, there’s not too many of them on the turf.”

And Del Mar will feature two elite-level events during the Turf Festival, the Hollywood Derby and the Matriarch.

“That’s pretty much where this Turf Festival is designed on the calendar,” Jerkens continued. “It’s our good offerings but also a reflection of just a lack of opportunities elsewhere.”

Most of the out-of-town trainers will ship in their horses days before the race.

“Brad Cox is coming to the Seabiscuit with Set Piece and they’ll arrive Sunday,” Jerkens said. “Shug McGaughey and Todd Pletcher are looking at the Hollywood Derby and Chad Brown for the Matriarch so we’ll have some household names.”

The Fall Turf Festival continues into the closing weekend at Del Mar, featuring no less than five graded stakes on the turf; three on Saturday, December 3 and two more on Sunday, December 4. The Saturday races consist of the G3 Jimmy Durante for 2-year old fillies, the G1 Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds, and the inaugural $100,000 Stormy Liberal turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

Then on Sunday, closing day of the Bing Crosby meet, the Fall Turf Festival concludes with the G3 Cecil B. DeMille for 2-year olds and the  Matriarch for fillies and mares.

Post time will be 12:30 p.m. (PT) except on Thanksgiving Day when the racing begins at 11 a.m.