07/02/2016 7:15PM

Dalmore flourishes close to home in Affirmed Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Dalmore, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, has won three races at Santa Anita since March, including his first stakes in Saturday's Affirmed.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Dalmore has compiled a smart winning streak in three dirt races at Santa Anita since late March, a span that includes his first stakes win in Saturday’s $100,000 Affirmed Stakes.

The comfort of a familiar racetrack, adjacent to the stables where Dalmore is based, has made the difference in recent months, trainer Keith Desormeaux said.

Dalmore won a maiden race here in March before finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on April 9. On April 30, Dalmore was fifth in the California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos. When Dalmore was shipped to both venues, he was not comfortable, Desormeaux said.

Dalmore showed no signs of discomfort when he won an optional claimer here on May 29, or in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes.

“He’s a half-mile from his stall,” Desormeaux said, gesturing toward the barn area.

Ridden by Keith’s brother, Kent, Dalmore ($9.20) had an ideal trip in the Affirmed. Beaumarchais, the 30-1 longest shot in the field, led over 1-5 favorite Danzing Candy through early fractions of 23.26 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46 seconds for a half-mile.

Danzing Candy took the lead on the turn, but was quickly challenged by Dalmore, who rallied three-wide. Dalmore took the lead with a furlong remaining and won by a half-length in 1:40.84. Danzing Candy finished 8 1/2 lengths in front of Prince of Arabia, who was followed by Beaumarchais and Curlin Rules in the small field.

“The surprise was” Beaumarchais, Keith Desormeaux said. “It was nice to see the 46 flat. It helped us.

“It wasn’t like he was drawing away. Danzing Candy ran a hell of a race.”

The Affirmed was Danzing Candy’s first start since a 15th place finish in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7. Danzing Candy set the pace in the Kentucky Derby, but faded from contention through the final quarter-mile.

In the days after that race, Danzing Candy was transferred from trainer Clifford Sise Jr. to Bob Baffert by owners Jim and Dianne Bashor and Ted Aroney.

Dalmore races for the partnership of Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch, and Keith Desormeaux. By Colonel John, Dalmore has won 3 of 11 starts and earned $187,302. The colt was purchased for $47,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Kent Desormeaux has ridden Dalmore in his three wins. The brothers teamed to famously win the Preakness Stakes in May on Exaggerator.

Dalmore will not have a chance to extend his winning streak at Santa Anita for a few months. The current spring-summer meeting ends on July 10 before the circuit shifts to Del Mar for the summer and Los Alamitos for three weeks in September. Desormeaux said Dalmore could start out of town later this summer in a major stakes for 3-year-olds.