07/31/2010 5:55PM

Del Mar: Major Smoke rallies from last


Major Smoke ($12.60), who won a $12,500 claimer for non-winners of two at Hollywood Park on July 5, made the successful transition to open company claimers in Saturday's fourth race, closing from last in a field of nine to win a six-furlong sprint by 1 3-4 lengths over U.C. Merced Too, the 8-5 favorite.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Major Smoke rallied five wide entering the stretch to take the lead in the final sixteenth. He was timed in 1:09.90, winning for the third time in his 19-race career.

Conditions have been sunny at Del Mar since lunchtime, and there is a belief among some horsemen that bright weather changes the track and aids closers.

There were three claims in the race. Runner-up U.C. Merced Too was claimed by Jorge Periban. Capt. Sparrow, who finished third, was claimed in a six-way shake by Mike Mitchell. Afleet Deal, who finished sixth, was claimed by Jack Carava.