07/31/2013 7:49PM

Del Mar: California Chrome wins Graduation thanks to blinkers, Delgado

Benoit & Associates
California Chrome wins the Graduation Stakes on Wednesday under Alberto Delgado.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Benefiting from the addition of blinkers and an ideal ride from jockey Alberto Delgado, California Chrome won the first stakes of his career in Wednesday’s $100,250 Graduation Stakes at Del Mar.

California Chrome ($14.40) closed from just off the pace in a field of seven to win the Graduation Stakes for California-breds by 2 3/4 lengths over Moving Desert, a 9-2 shot who raced behind horses on the turn.
Gangnam Guy finished third, followed by Better Bet, Solid Wager, Wille B Awesome and Betting McCann Can. Solid Wager was the 3-1 favorite.

California Chrome ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.48.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

Delgado had California Chrome in fourth and then third in the first three furlongs, stalking Better Bet and Willie B Awesome, who set a pace of 22.32 and 45.82 seconds. Staying outside of rivals, California Chrome took the lead in early stretch and widened his advantage in the final furlong.

For Delgado, formerly based in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Graduation was his first stakes win since the Miss Shenandoah Stakes at Charles Town last September.

Trainer Art Sherman praised Delgado’s ride, saying he wanted California Chrome to race from off the pace.

“The blinkers really moved the horse up,” Sherman said. “I didn’t want him to be on the lead.”

California Chrome, by Lucky Pulpit, races for breeders Perry Martin and Steve Coburn. A winner of 2 of 4 starts and $100,600, California Chrome will be considered for the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4, Sherman said.

California Chrome won his second start, beating California-bred maidens at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 17. He finished fifth of nine in his stakes debut, the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes against open company on June 15.