08/27/2013 3:27PM

Del Mar notes: Sadler savoring another big meet

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Benoit & Associates
John Sadler led all trainers at the Del Mar meet with 23 wins heading into Wednesday's card.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – As Del Mar headed into the final days of its meeting, John Sadler found himself atop the trainers’ standings, leading both Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill, 23-18, prior to Wednesday’s races. Should Sadler retain his lead through the end of the meeting next Wednesday, it would mark his third title here in the last six seasons. He also won it in 2008 and 2009.

Last weekend was a microcosm of Sadler’s meet. He owns four stakes wins, including Vagabond Shoes in the Del Mar Handicap last Saturday, and he’s had his horses outrun their odds in several major stakes. On Sunday, Kettle Corn (6-1) and You Know I Know (40-1) were second and third behind Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic, He Be Fire N Ice (6-1) was second to Obviously in the Del Mar Mile, and Gonna Fly Now (9-1) was third in the Pat O’Brien.

“I’m very pleased with the way the meet has gone,” Sadler said at his barn Tuesday. “Hopefully, our lead will hold up.”

The Pacific Classic was a satisfying result for Sadler in that even though his horses were no match for Game On Dude, second and third was worth a total of $320,000 out of the $1 million purse.

Sadler believes both Kettle Corn and You Know I Know are at their best on synthetic surfaces, so he is apprehensive about trying them on dirt at Santa Anita’s fall meeting in a race like the Grade 1 Awesome Again on Sept.  28.

“We’ll nominate them to everything at Santa Anita, turf and dirt,” he said. With Kettle Corn, “I’ll probably look at the turf a little more than dirt. He hasn’t been on dirt in a long time.”

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He Be Fire N Ice will be pointed to the Grade  2 City of Hope Mile, while Gonna Fly Now is likely to make his next start in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Both races are Oct. 5.

Sadler unveiled two potential stakes horses Sunday. Magic Union, making her first start for Sadler since a private purchase, won a second-level allowance race going one mile and could join stablemate More Chocolate in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes for older females Sept. 28.

The well-regarded 2-year-old filly Antiquity won going six furlongs against maidens in her first start and will come right back in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes on Sept. 28, Sadler said. Antiquity, a daughter of Pulpit, is out of the Forest Wildcat mare Stylish Wildcat.

“She had trained really well,” Sadler said. “I trained the dam, and she won first time out, so we knew there was a lot of precociousness in the family.”

Del Mar Derby contenders work

Den’s Legacy and Rising Legend, both targeting Sunday’s Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, worked Tuesday on Polytrack. Den’s Legacy went five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Bob Baffert, while Rising Legend, trained by Sadler, traveled six furlongs in 1:12.60, the best time of nine at the distance.

The Del Mar Derby, a 1 1/8-mile grass race, will be split into a pair of $250,000 divisions if the number of entrants is as high as expected. There were 34 horses nominated to the race, and more than 20 are expected to enter.

◗ Surfside Race Place, Del Mar’s simulcast facility, will host a bingo night for all Del Mar employees, friends, and family Thursday. Sign-up sheets are at the frontside and backside racing offices.