08/07/2011 4:53PM

Del Mar: Champions Gate is stakes-bound


Champions Gate made a winning debut in Sunday's second race, giving trainer Mike Machowsky a reason to point the colt for the $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for California-breds on Sept. 5.

Owned by breeder Don Dizney, Champions Gate ($17.20) led throughout 5 1-2 furlongs, winning by 1 3-4 lengths over an unlucky Unusual Heatwave, who broke slowly and closed steadily to finish second. Points Offthebench, a full-brother to the multiple stakes winner Bench Points, finished third in the field of eight. Unusual Heatwave ran well, considering his start.

Champions Gate was timed in a quick 1:03.10. Machowsky said that Champions Gate has thrived on the synthetic Polytrack surface since arriving at Del Mar last month.