11/29/2014 5:09PM

Big Cazanova all the way in Native Diver

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Benoit and Associates
Big Cazanova and jockey Elvis Trujillo take the Native Diver Handicap by 3 1/4 lengths Saturday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – If there’s any horse who will so very much miss the end of the Polytrack era here at Del Mar, it’s Big Cazanova, who scored his third win without a defeat over this course when capturing his first graded stakes in this country in the Grade 3, $200,500 Native Diver Handicap on Saturday.

Big Cazanova set a pair of track records here during the summer in allowance races, was badly beaten in two dirt races since, but returned to his best form when back on Polytrack on Saturday.

He zipped to the front leaving the gate, was given a breather midway through the race by jockey Elvis Trujillo, kicked clear on the turn, and checked in 3 1/4 lengths in front of runner-up Blue Tone in the 1 1/8-mile race for older horses.

Avanzare was another 4 1/4 lengths back in third. Fleet Eagle was fourth and was followed by Salto Del Indio, Blueskiesnrainbows, and Tamarando.

Big Cazanova ($6.20), the favorite, covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.28 after setting fractions of 23.05 seconds, 47.26, 1:11.73, and 1:36.41.

“He’s really fast, and he ran them off their feet,” said trainer Peter Miller, who essentially clinched the meet’s training title with the victory. “Elvis did a good job of slowing the pace down the second quarter, then opening up at the 2 1/2,” he said, referring to the five-sixteenth’s pole.

Big Cazanova has now won four times in 20 starts. He is unbeaten on synthetic, but Del Mar is ending its Polytrack era after Sunday’s closing-day card.

“I think I’m going to bed his stall in it,” Miller said.

Big Cazanova was bred in Argentina and arrived here after making 11 starts in South America. He is owned by Adam Wachtel, Gary Barber, Gil Brous, and Oscar Pena.