07/17/2013 7:54PM

Del Mar: Gervinho regains top form to win Oceanside division

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Benoit & Associates
Gervinho, under Rafael Bejarano, edges Greeley Awesome to win the first division of the Oceanside Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Gervinho, who missed more than six months of racing over the winter because of a knee injury, won the second stakes of his abbreviated career in the first division of Wednesday’s $113,150 Oceanside Stakes on opening day at Del Mar.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Gervinho closed from fifth in a field of 10 to win the one-mile turf race by a neck over 14-1 Greeley Awesome. Freakin Rocket finished third, his first loss in his third career start.

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

The unlucky horse in the field was 9-5 favorite Undrafted, who was stuck behind horses on the turn and raced in traffic in the stretch before finishing fourth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths.

Gervinho ($7.80) had a more fortunate trip under jockey Rafael Bejarano. Fifth with a quarter-mile remaining, Gervinho was guided to the outside of runners in the stretch and quickened well to take the lead in the final furlong.

“I had to get a good position,” Bejarano said. “I decided to wait as long as I could. He can go a little farther. He’s getting better.”

A colt by Unusual Heat, Gervinho was timed in 1:33.88.

Owned by Santa Anita chief executive Keith Brackpool and trained by Carla Gaines, Gervinho has won 3 of 5 starts and $219,140. At 2, he won a maiden race and the Zuma Beach Stakes on turf before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita behind winner George Vancouver.

Gervinho had a bone chip taken out of a knee following that race. In his first start of 2013, he finished second to Surfcup in the Silky Sullivan Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds on turf at Golden Gate Fields on June 9.

Wednesday’s win could lead to a start in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Sept. 1.

B More than 1 year ago
After only one day, I so long for the voice of Vic Stauffer over Trevor Denman who for some reason sounds even more annoying than usual. Maybe after months of Stauffer, Denman just takes some time getting used to, but nevertheless, he is an inferior race caller to Stauffer.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
Vic Stauffer? You've got to be joking.. Yeah I want to hear Vic breath heavily into his mike while the horses load 8-9 times a day for the next 7 weeks.. Vic couldn't wear Trevor's phlegm...
W.H. Anderson More than 1 year ago
To Del Mar: Please get rid of Mike Joyce he is AWFUL! What happened to the great commentary from John Lies, Bob Ike, Joanne Jones. Even worse please don't replace him with Gino Buccola. The TVG handicappers are simply horrible!!!!