By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondant 

Nucky wins Del Mar Futurity, Wrecking Crew second


Last updated 9/14/2019 at 12:21am

San Luis Rey Training Center horses finished first and second in the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity race Sept. 2 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Nucky won the Grade 1 Stakes race while Wrecking Crew was second in the seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds. Both horses are trained by Peter Miller.

"We felt like we had two very good horses and they both showed up today," Miller said.

Norberto Arroyo was Nucky's jockey. Abel Cedillo rode Wrecking Crew.

"The jockeys ran good races," Miller said.

Nucky had the second-highest odds among the eight horses in the race and paid 35:1. Eight Rings was the favorite at 0.5:1. Early in the race Eight Rings bumped Storm the Court, and both horses lost their riders.

Both of the riderless horses were behind the San Luis Rey horses. Nucky broke second and Wrecking Crew was third out of the gate.

Garth was the leader when he completed the first quarter of a mile 21.89 seconds after the start of the race. Garth was a head in front of Fore Left, who was a head in front of Nucky. Nucky held a one-length lead over fourth place Ginobili, who was half a length ahead of Wrecking Crew. Wrecking Crew led sixth-place Defense Wins by two lengths.

The first half-mile took Garth 44.90 seconds. He was a head in front of Ginobili, who had moved into second and was a head in front of Fore Left. Nucky trailed Fore Left by a head. Wrecking Crew was 1 1/2 lengths behind Nucky and a length ahead of Defense Wins.

Nucky had the lead when he reached the stretch 1:11.09 into the race. He was a length in front of Ginobili while Wrecking Crew was in third place a head behind Ginobili and a length in front of fourth-place Defense Wins.

A post-race stewards' review not only determined that no other horse was responsible for the contact between Eight Rings and Storm the Court but also that contact in the stretch between Nucky and Ginobili did not constitute interference which affected the order of finish.

Miller admitted contact between Nucky and Ginobili. "He definitely brushed him," he said.

"I think the stewards did make the right call," Miller said. "I think the 4 (Ginobili) was tiring. I think we were still running."

Ginobili finished fourth, 1 3/4 lengths behind Defense Wins and five lengths in back of Nucky.

Nucky won the race in 1:25.52. He finished 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Wrecking Crew, who was half a length in front of Defense Wins.

"Running 1-2 in this race is incredible. It's a dream come true," Miller said.

Rockingham Ranch, which is the racing entity of Gary Hartunian, owns Nucky, and Hartunian owns Wrecking Crew in partnership with David Bernsen.

"To me it's like winning the Super Bowl," Hartunian said.

Nucky's maternal grandsire was also a Bonsall horse. Rock Hard Ten trained at Moody Creek Farms before his racing career which included second place in the 2004 Preakness. Nucky was sired by Ghostzapper out of Lady Ten and was foaled in Kentucky March 29, 2017. The acquisition by Rockingham Ranch at last year's Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale for $130,000 placed the colt at San Luis Rey.

Concern about the safety of Santa Anita Park caused Miller to run some of his horses in Kentucky rather than on the Southern California circuit, and Nucky began his racing career with two June races at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville and a July contest at Ellis Park in Henderson. His first California race was at Del Mar Aug. 21; that six-furlong competition was also Nucky's first win and he beat second-place Railsplitter, a San Luis Rey horse trained by Doug O'Neill, by 10 1/2 lengths.

Wrecking Crew is a ridgling, or a horse with one descended testicle. He was foaled in Kentucky Jan. 30, 2017, and was sired by Sky Kingdom out of Truelladeville. Hartunian and Bernsen acquired Wrecking Crew at the March 2019 Fasig-Tipton, Florida, sale for 2-year-olds in training. Wrecking Crew made his racing debut July 27 and won that six-furlong race at Del Mar, and he was second in the Aug. 10 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar.

The total purse for the Del Mar Futurity was $300,000. The first-place share was $180,000, which increased Nucky's career earnings to $217,750. The $60,000 second-place share gave Wrecking Crew career earnings of $136,000.

The winners of the Del Mar Futurity also include 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who won the 2014 Del Mar race for 2-year-olds. Santa Anita Park will host the 1 and 1/16-mile American Pharoah Stakes race Sept. 27, and Miller and Hartunian are contemplating entering their horses in that race.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 11/01/2019 19:04