07/14/2012 12:17PM

Del Mar: Majestic City gets another chance at two turns in Oceanside

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Peter Miller and Majestic City in Kentucky prior to last fall's Breeders' Cup

As a runner-up in a two-turn Grade 1 race, Majestic City is somewhat overqualified to start in Wednesday’s $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar.

But the restricted race for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf may be the ideal start to the second half of the year for Majestic City, the winner of two sprint stakes for 2-year-olds last summer.

Owned by Jeff Bloom and trained by Peter Miller, Majestic City is part of what is expected to be a large field in the Oceanside, the opening day feature of the Del Mar meeting. It is possible there may be sufficient entries for the race to be split into divisions for the first time since 2009.

A winner of 3 of 9 starts and $260,850, Majestic City is winless in two starts this year – a third in an allowance race over six furlongs on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 6 and a sixth in the Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town on June 30.

The journey to West Virginia did not suit Majestic City, Miller said.

“He didn’t handle the trip at all,” Miller said. “It was hot and humid back there. He hung his head for the three days he was there.”

Majestic City has never won on turf. Last fall, he set the pace in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but faded to finish 13th of 14. In his preceding start, he was second to Dullahan in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, leading to the stretch before losing by three-quarters of a length. Dullahan won the Blue Grass Stakes earlier this year and was third in the Kentucky Derby.

Majestic City needs a big result on Wednesday to remain in two-turn stakes for 3-year-olds on turf at Del Mar later this year, a series that includes the $300,000 Del Mar Derby over 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 2.

“He’s run well going two turns,” Miller said. “If he runs back to his race in the Breeders’ Futurity, he can win.”

Other prominent contenders for the Oceanside are Blingo, who won the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita in January; Stoney Fleece, the winner of the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 12; Holy Candy, who was fourth in the Blue Grass; Facoltoso, a minor stakes winner in Italy earlier this year; Boat Trip, the winner of the Tsunami Slew Stakes at Hollywood Park in June; and Chips All In, who won the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita in March.

Eddie Read highlight of opening week

There are six stakes on the opening week of the Del Mar season. The most prominent is the $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Defending champion Acclamation is expected to start as a strong favorite. The champion older male of 2011, Acclamation has won his only start this year, the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 9.

Last year, Acclamation won the Read and the $1 million Pacific Classic in August. The Pacific Classic on Aug. 26 is a long term goal for this summer, trainer Don Warren said.