James breaks Del Mar maiden with Angus
Last updated 11/15/2007 at Noon
San Luis Rey Downs Thoroughbred Training Center trainer Greg James won his first Del Mar Thoroughbred Club race August 22 when Angus finished first in the day’s fifth race.
“It was nice to win one there,” James said.
Angus is a three-year-old colt owned and bred by Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez. His sire is Smokester and his dam is Feather’d Rain. His first race, which was also at Del Mar, took place exactly one month before his win. In that six-furlong race Angus finished third.
“That track at first was very, very tiring,” James said. “He got super, super tired.”
James, who trained out of Golden Gate Fields in Northern California before relocating to San Luis Rey Downs, notes that the Polytrack surface installed at Del Mar for the 2007 meet makes horses more fatigued. Although the Polytrack creates an even surface, the cushioning means that a horse will likely need to exert greater effort during a race.
“The second race he was in a lot better condition. It’s hard enough to run on that track,” James said.
Martin Garcia, who rode Angus in the July 22 race, was also the jockey for Angus’ August 22 win. “I didn’t want him to lay back too far,” James said. “I told him just to let him break.”
Angus broke fifth among the nine horses but had the lead a quarter-mile into the race and never trailed afterwards. He reached the quarter-mile point at 22.51 seconds a head in front of Warren’s Scooter, who stayed in second place for the remainder of the six-furlong race for three-year-olds and upward.
Angus reached half a mile at 46.39 seconds and was a full length in front of Warren’s Scooter. Angus entered the stretch 56.06 seconds into the race 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Warren’s Scooter and crossed the finish line with a 1 3/4-length lead and a winning time of 1:12.70.
James trained all four of Angus’ siblings, and two of those siblings won their first time out. “I really thought he’d win his first time out,” James said of Angus.
Angus, who was foaled in California on April 11, 2004, earned a $31,800 share of the $53,000 purse.
James is originally from Utah and now splits time between Utah and the Southern California tracks. He had spent six months of the year in Utah and six months on the Northern California circuit before the Rodriguezes decided to race their horses in Southern California.