08/20/2013 1:30PM

Del Mar: Argentine import Winning Prize looks dangerous for Drysdale

Shigeki Kikkawa
Multiple stakes winner Chips All In will make his second start off a layoff in Thursday's allowance feature.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The pipeline of top South American horses heading to the West Coast of the United States seemed to dry out for about a decade, but it has been resurrected mightily the past couple of years, with top-class horses going to Richard Mandella, Ron McAnally, and Neil Drysdale, all Hall of Famers, all of whom have had great success with said horses during their careers.

On Thursday at Del Mar, it is Drysdale who will unveil his newest, shiniest invader from Argentina. Winning Prize brings outstanding credentials, a solid work tab, and the meet’s leading rider for his U.S. debut in the day’s featured seventh race, a one-mile, upper-level allowance that drew eight older grass runners.

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Winning Prize is in line for a huge bonus on top of the $85,000 purse, since he is eligible to Del Mar’s lucrative ship and win program. A three-time Group 1 winner in his native land, Winning Prize has worked four times on the Del Mar turf in preparation for Thursday’s race, and he landed jockey Rafael Bejarano, the runaway leader atop the standings.

“He’s a very attractive, well-made horse,” Drysdale said of Winning Prize on Tuesday morning by telephone from Betfair Hollywood Park, where he is based. “He looks like a miler. Knock on wood, he hasn’t missed a beat since he came here.”

Drysdale and his wife, bloodstock agent Shawn Dugan, flew to Argentina to arrange the acquisition of Winning Prize. They bought 50 percent of him on behalf of owner David Heerensperger from Jose Nelson, with Nelson staying in for the remaining 50 percent.

To prevail, Winning Prize will have to defeat the multiple stakes winner Chips All In, who returned from a three-month freshening with a deceptively good fourth-place finish behind Indy Point in the Wickerr here on July 24. Indy Point subsequently disappointed as the favorite in the Arlington Million.

Chips All In has finished first or second in 10 of 14 lifetime starts, and was narrowly beaten in a pair of stakes races here last summer.

Irish Art is looking to rebound off a disappointing comeback effort here Aug. 1. He adds blinkers for this race, though he loses Bejarano to Winning Prize. Mike Smith provides a worthy replacement, though.

Venomous makes his first start in more than a year for trainer Leonard Powell, whose small barn has had a big meeting this summer. Venomous is winless in six starts in this country.

Boat Trip finished furiously in the five-furlong Green Flash, and though his best success has been sprinting on turf, he has won going two turns. He is coming back just eight days after his last race.

Trainer Marty Jones sends out both Compari and Rauschenberg, veteran geldings who are winless in limited tries over this course.

Ivanho comes off a sharp win on this course against a slightly softer bunch and seems to be improving for trainer Mark Glatt, who claimed him in April.