08/25/2012 9:27PM

Del Mar: Casino Host earns Breeders' Cup Turf berth by winning Del Mar Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Casino Host (1), ridden by Joe Talamo, emerges late to capture the Del Mar Handicap.

DEL MAR, Calif.- Casino Host won the longest race of his career in Saturday’s $200,000 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf.

The race was worth $120,000 to owners Gary and Mary West, but there were added financial benefits.

With the win, Casino Host earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf over 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. The typical entry and starter fees for that race are $90,000.

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“It’s a nice added bonus,” said winning trainer Ron Ellis.

Casino Host ($9.60) held off a late threat from 6-5 favorite Dhaamer to win the Del Mar Handicap by a neck.

“It got a little close at the end but he was game,” Ellis said. “It’s nice to know he can go that far. We’ll point for the Breeders’ Cup.”

Casino Host was timed in 2:14.77. Talamo kept the 4-year-old colt in fifth on the backstretch. On the turn, Talamo guided Casino Host four-wide for running room and took the lead in the final strides.

“Joe did a good job,” Ellis said.

Dhaamer, a two-time stakes winner at Betfair Hollywood Park earlier this year, was behind horses until the eighth pole. He closed well under jockey Garrett Gomez but could not make up sufficient ground.

Fire with Fire, a 27-1 shot, finished third in the field of eight after racing close to the pace throughout.

Casino Host, by Dynaformer, has won 4 of 15 starts and $575,175. Bought for $290,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, Casino Host has won two stakes. He won the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds in April when trained by Chad Brown.

Casino Host joined Ellis’s California stable earlier this summer. The Del Mar Handicap was Casino Host’s second start on this circuit this summer. He was third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes here on July 21.

“I think he was too far back last time,” Ellis said. “He wasn’t at full strength and we gave him a race over the track. He came to me in good shape, but he was a little tired from all the shipping.”






Jordan More than 1 year ago
Once again, a supposed weak horse well beaten by Acclamation comes back to win a graded stakes. Last year's Del Mar Cap 1-2 finishers, Celtic New Year and Bourbon Bay, had been trounced by Acclamation in the Whittingham. In last year's Eddie Read, the 3rd place finisher to Acclamation, Caracortado, came back to win the gr.2 Del Mar Mile next out and the Read runner-up, Jeranimo, won the gr.2 Oak Tree Mile in his first turf start following that effort. Simply, Acclamation has just about beaten all the top 8-12 furlong turfers on the West Coast from the last 3 years.
Michael Acosta More than 1 year ago
I singled the 7 in this race, he was much the best horse but got in trouble, Gomez should not have taken him outside and he would have won the race. I would have hit the pick 4. I still hit the pick 3 for over $700 but was quite disappointed. And to think I almost singled the 1 but decided to go with Mitchell instead... Another almost huge score
Zakk W. More than 1 year ago
That's a tough loss to miss the pick 4 by a neck. Dhaamer was clearly the best horse not to win the race. It's the same story all the time with Gomez, drop far back, make one run, & hope he get's up in time. He's a great rider but he loses more & more close races being so far back.
Bob More than 1 year ago
woulda, coulda, shoulda. Go Go had a closer and no room inside. If he gets trapped inside, he shoulda gone outside. That's the way the pickle squirts.
Dave More than 1 year ago
I feel your pain. Would have had the tri because I liked the longshot Fire with Fire who held for 3rd, but I needed Dhaamer on top. Gomez had the best horse, but he had to go around horses in the stretch and that cost him the race. I don't think he had a choice though, that's horse racing.