07/20/2004 11:00PM

Blackdoun wins Oceanside in U.S. debut

Blackdoun wins the second division of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Blackdoun, a French import who had raced against some of that country's top 3-year-olds earlier this year, made a flashy American debut in the $85,450 second division of Wednesday's at Del Mar.

The victory put Blackdoun firmly on course for the $400,000 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6, a race his trainer, Julio Canani, won with Ladies Din in 1998.

Blackdoun ($6) was patiently ridden by Corey Nakatani. Seventh early, Blackdoun rallied wide on the final turn to reach contention and pulled away in the final furlong to score by 2 1/2 lengths over Terroplane, the 9-5 favorite.

"I told Corey, 'Ride with confidence. Don't rush him. He might be a little short,'" Canani said.

Blackdoun finished a mile on turf in 1:33.54. Lucky Pulpit ran third in the field of eight.

Blackdoun finished behind the multiple Group 1 winner American Post in minor stakes in France earlier this year. Blackdoun was purchased in the spring by Marsha Naify and Laurent and Christina Zilber's Woodside Farm.

"He's been running with horses that are Grade 1 horses," Canani said. "His future is in front of him."

* Trainer Jerry Dutton, 76, won his third career stakes at Del Mar in the first division of with Wild Babe. The win marked Dutton's first Del Mar stakes win since I'monfireforyou won the 1998 I'm Smokin Stakes.

"As old as I am, I need lots of wins," Dutton wisecracked in the winner's circle.

Wild Babe ($18.60) led throughout. Ridden by David Flores, he led by 2 1/2 lengths on the first turn, by 1 1/2 lengths on the final turn and held off a late run from Semi Lost to win by a neck. Wild Babe was timed in 1:34.56 after setting early fractions of 23.14 and 47.51 seconds.

"There wasn't much speed. David rode a terrific race," Dutton said.

Owned by Larry and Mary Ann Williams, Wild Babe has won 3 of 10 starts and $148,690. The Oceanside was Wild Babe's first stakes win.

"Last year, he was nervous," Dutton said. "I think he's more settled now. When I saw him go to the post, I was real happy."

Semi Lost finished a half-length in front of Hippocrates in the field of eight.

Semi Lost broke through the gate before the start, but settled in the race before making a late run.

* The divisions of the Oceanside Stakes were the feature races on the opening day of the 43-day summer meeting, which was witnessed by an on-track crowd of 39,346, the third-highest audience in track history.

The figure was down 3 percent from last year's record opening day crowd of 40,682. The 1996 Pacific Classic program drew an all-time record on-track crowd of 44,181.

The all-sources handle was $14,594,173, an increase of 2 percent over last year. The on-track handle of $4,353,188 marked a drop of 1 percent.

"As close as we got to last year, I was pleasantly surprised," said track president Joe Harper.

One of the few glitches on the opening day was a malfunction of the track's large infield television, which was not fully operational until the end of the day.