07/27/2011 8:54PM

Del Mar: Calimonco upholds family honor in Wickerr Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Calimonco wins the Wickerr Stakes under Victor Espinoza.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Calimonco won his first stakes in Wednesday’s $92,040 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar. That accomplishment still leaves him several milestones behind his older sisters – Sweet Catomine and Life Is Sweet, millionaires who won Breeders’ Cup races.

Calimonco, 5, rallied wide on the turn to win the Wickerr over a mile on turf by a nose over pacesetter John Johny Jak. Calimonco ($43.40) was timed in 1:34.07 and was ridden by Victor Espinoza for trainer John Sadler.

The win improved Calimonco’s record to 4 wins in 24 starts and earnings of $240,466 for owner-breeders Marty and Pam Wygod.  By comparison, Sweet Catomine, the 2004 champion 2-year-old filly, earned $1,059,600, and Life Is Sweet, the winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita, earned $1,820,810.

In the Wickerr, Espinoza had Calimonco in sixth or fifth for the first half-mile, tracking John Johny Jak through early fractions of 22.88 and 46.96 seconds. Calimonco was behind horses on the turn and rallied three wide in the stretch to take the lead in the final sixteenth. Espinoza lost his whip in the final sixteenth just before Calimonco appeared to pull himself up in the final strides, which reduced the winning margin. John Johny Jak finished a neck in front of Victory Pete in the field of 10.

The win erased the disappointment of Calimonco’s first start for Sadler. The horse finished last of five in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on June 3 when he had his head turned at the start and was unprepared.

Wednesday’s Wickerr Stakes puts Calimonco closer to his graded stakes debut, although a race has not been selected, Sadler said.

“We’d like to run him twice down here,” Sadler said of the Del Mar meeting.