Updated on 09/15/2011 12:37PM

Classy Drysdale absentees return


DEL MAR, Calif. - Beat All has not won a race for more than two years. Sestino has not even raced for nearly two years, and has not won a race for more than three years. Yet these two turf runners, both of whom are seeking to return to the form that put them in Group 1 company early in their careers in Europe, give trainer Neil Drysdale a powerful one-two punch in Thursday's Kobuk King Stakes, highlight of day two of Del Mar's summer season.

After the deep, classy fields found on opening day, Thursday's eight-race card reverts to a typical midweek offering in Southern California, with four claiming races and three maiden-claiming races in addition to the Kobuk King.

Seven were entered in the Kobuk King, a 1 3/8-mile grass race that is both an overnight stakes and an optional-claiming event. There are six betting interests, with trainer Dean Greenman saddling the coupled entry of Qualitynotquantity and Some Actor, both of whom are entered for a $62,500 claiming price. Drysdale's two horses are not coupled because of separate ownership.

Beat All, best known for finishing third in the 1999 Epsom Derby, has made three starts in this country. He was second in the 1 1/4-mile San Marino Handicap on the Santa Anita turf in February, but then was moved to the main track, where he lost twice, including in the Santa Anita Handicap. He has not raced since April 14.

"Obviously we tried to experiment on the dirt, and it didn't pan out," Drysdale said from Kentucky, where he was attending the Keeneland yearling sales. "He's a

1 1/2-mile horse. I didn't want to run him on a firm course at Hollywood. Hopefully the course at Del Mar will have a bit of give in the ground."

Sestino raced once for Drysdale, finishing fifth in the 1999 Del Mar Handicap, before heading to the sidelines. According to Drysdale, Sestino hurt a knee in the Del Mar Handicap, then suffered a ligament injury while in training last year. He also was gelded "fairly recently," Drysdale said.

"He might need a race, because he's quite laid back about working, but I expect him to run well," Drysdale said. Sestino has turned in a series of fast workouts at Hollywood Park for his return, and has run well fresh in the past, including a victory following a 6 1/2-month layoff in April 1998 in France.

The biggest threat to Drysdale's pair could be Neki, a narrow loser against a second-level allowance field in his last start at Hollywood Park for trainer Simon Bray.

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