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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

San Luis Rey horses help O'Neill tie Del Mar one-day trainer record


Last updated 8/30/2019 at 6:23pm

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club record for most trainer wins in a day is five. Doug O’Neill set the record in 2015, and during this year’s summer meet he tied it with five wins July 31.

O’Neill’s July 31 victories included four by horses who have trained at the San Luis Rey Training Center. One of those horses is a foal of Square Eddie, who stands at Ocean Breeze Ranch in Bonsall.

“It was a wonderful day,” O’Neill said. “Just one of those special days where everything unfolded in each race.”

The first race of the day was a six-furlong contest for fillies and mares 3 years old and upward who had not previously won a race. San Luis Rey horses trained by O’Neill finished both first and second.

So Gucci and jockey Evin Roman won the race by a neck over Vangogo, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano and finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Grey Lady. So Gucci had a winning time of 1:12.27.

The nine-horse field was reduced to eight when one horse lost her rider early in the race. After the first quarter of a mile Vangogo and Bejarano were in second and So Gucci and Roman were fifth.

Vangogo was in the lead half a mile into the race and held a half-length lead over Tandalicious while So Gucci was in third a length behind Tandalicious. So Gucci took the lead just before the stretch and entered the stretch a head in front of Vangogo, who was two lengths ahead of Grey Lady.

The race was the third career start for So Gucci, who was foaled in March 2016, but her first since she finished seventh in a six-furlong competition Jan. 16, at Santa Anita Park.

“I was very pleased to see her run that well,” O’Neill said of So Gucci’s win after a six-month layup.

O’Neill said that Stephanie Murray at San Luis Rey worked to bring So Gucci back to racing.

Vangogo, who was foaled in January 2017, had run seven previous races. She also finished second in her previous start, in which she ran 1 mile, July 6, at Los Alamitos Race Course.

The California Horse Racing Board allows a horse to be shipped from San Luis Rey to the racing track the day of a race, but some trainers stable horses at the racing facility for the entire meet so that they can work out on the actual track where they will compete.

Oil Can Knight, who won the six-furlong third race July 31, trained at San Luis Rey last year.

Oil Can Knight, who was ridden by Abel Cedillo, finished a neck ahead of Call You Tomorrow. His winning time was 1:10.48, and he was second for most of the 10-horse race before taking the lead from Call You Tomorrow just before entering the stretch.

Oil Can Knight, a gelding foaled in April 2016, had five previous races. His previous start July 5 at Los Alamitos was also his first win and also a six-furlong race.

The fourth race was 5 1/2 furlongs and for 2-year-old California-bred fillies and mares who had not previously won a race.

Vegan, who was ridden by Mario Gutierrez, needed 1:06.26 to break her maiden and crossed the finish line 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Twentyseventrouts.

Vegan broke third among the eight horses in the race but was second behind Twentyseventrouts after the first quarter of a mile and remained in second until passing Twentyseventrouts in the stretch. Vegan trained at San Luis Rey earlier this year.

The race was the fifth for Vegan, who finished fifth in her previous start July 20, at Del Mar.

Vegan was foaled in California Jan. 2, 2017. She was sired by Square Eddie out of Charred Rare. Square Eddie was foaled in Canada in 2006 and raced from 2008 to 2011. He was trained by O’Neill after being stabled in California and began his stud career while he was still racing. His first foals began racing in 2013.

Convince was O’Neill’s only July 31 winner who has not trained at San Luis Rey. The 4-year-old filly was claimed in a June 8 race at Santa Anita, which was also her second career victory, and ran two races with O’Neill before the July 31 fifth race which was 1 mile on the turf and for fillies and mares at least 3 years old. She and Bejarano won by half a length over Wind Tartare.

The day’s sixth race was the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes. The 5 1/2-furlong contest was for 2-year-old California-bred fillies.

O’Neill saddled Acai, but she and Gutierrez finished last among the eight horses. Acai, a Square Eddie foal, was at the San Luis Ray Training Center this spring and won her only previous start, a 4 1/2-furlong race May 12 at Santa Anita.

The winner of the CTBA Stakes, Bulletproof One, was trained by San Luis Rey trainer Peter Miller although that filly had been in Northern California before joining Miller’s barn two weeks before the July 31 race and began her activity with Miller at Del Mar rather than at San Luis Rey.

Bulletproof One was ridden by Norberto Arroyo and won the race in 1:04.70 while finishing 6 1/4 lengths ahead of second-place Unchain Her Heart.

“The filly came to me in great shape,” Miller said. “We went easy with her and just kind of galloped her into the race.”

Seven races were held July 31, and in the final race Ocean Fury and Bejarano led for the final quarter-mile of the one-mile turf race and defeated second-place River God by 1 1/2 lengths. Ocean Fury’s winning time in the eight-horse race was 1:34.40.

“It’s just a dream day,” O’Neill said.

Ocean Fury has been stabled at the San Luis Rey Training Center and had five workouts there this year under Keith Desormeaux before being claimed by Great Friends Stable in May.

The 3-year-old colt was foaled in Kentucky March 7, 2016. In his five previous starts his only win was the May 5 race at Santa Anita in which he was claimed.

“Very exciting to be the fifth one,” Great Friends Stable partner Scott LaLoggia said. “It’s an incredible feat. We’re just excited to be a part of it.”

Great Friends Stable has approximately 20 horses at San Luis Rey.

Del Mar had eight races July 29, 2015. O’Neill had horses in five of those races and had two horses in the seventh race. O’Neill’s horses finished first and second in the seventh race while his horses won their other four races. Square Eddie foal Jimmy Bouncer won the third race that day.

O’Neill's five wins July 31 gave him nine for the meet and allowed him to pass Miller for the trainer lead.

“It’s been going really good for everybody,” O’Neill said.


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