07/15/2013 3:43PM

Del Mar: Undrafted, Den's Legacy head divisions of Oceanside Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Undrafted is the likely favorite in Wednesday's first division of the Oceanside at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, California – The stakes program for Del Mar 3-year-olds is all about turf, the preferred surface for both favorites Wednesday in split divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day of the summer meet.

Undrafted is 2 for 2 on turf and the horse to beat in race 6. Den’s Legacy returns to turf for the first time since winning a Grade 3 last fall. He is favored in race 9.

Neither Undrafted nor Den’s Legacy – Joel Rosario rides both – are locks. The $100,000 Oceanside, restricted to nonwinners of a $50,000 route stakes this year, attracted an overflow of good 3-year-old grass specialists – 22 are entered, but only 10 can start in each division.

Undrafted crushed three rivals in a turf allowance race last month at Churchill Downs. He ships in for trainer Wesley Ward with a versatile style that should lead to a comfortable trip positioned behind front-runners Manando and Freakin Rocket.

His chief rivals include Gervinho, runner-up in a recent comeback and working well since for trainer Carla Gaines. Freakin Rocket crushed main-track sprinters twice this spring at Betfair Hollywood Park, but he has not raced on turf or around two turns.

The Oceanside is the first leg of a three-race turf series for 3-year-olds that includes the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 10 and Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 1. Others in race 6 include Southwest shipper Unfettered, who is 4 for 4, comebacker Examen, and claiming winner Greeley Awesome.

While the Oceanside first division is solid, the race 9 second division is better. Den’s Legacy, on the Kentucky Derby trail in spring, drops from a series of seven graded stakes appearances for trainer Bob Baffert; Joelito scored a sharp allowance win on May 30; Rosengold has won four straight, including three minor stakes.

With stakes winner Gabriel Charles, stakes-placed Pure Loyalty, and comebacker Rising Legend, the Oceanside second division would be a fine race even without a European. Unfortunately for the locals, a shipper might upstage them all.

Si Sage was purchased in France, arrived two weeks ago, and will make his U.S. debut in the Oceanside for trainer Darrell Vienna and owner Red Barons Barn.

“We liked him from the [video] tapes,” Vienna said. “He’s been doing quite well since he arrived. You never know how they will stack up against these horses.”

Based on his European form, Si Sage should stack up well. Runner-up by a nose in a stakes last out at Longchamp, Si Sage has three wins and five runner-up finishes in 11 starts.

“His races in France were very competitive,” Vienna said, adding that Si Sage trained over the Del Mar turf course Monday morning. He will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

Rosario is in town only for a day and rides both Oceanside favorites, Undrafted in race 6 and Den’s Legacy in race 9.

Rosario led the Del Mar standings three years from 2009-11. He has since relocated to the East Coast.

Rosengold enters with a four-race win streak for Julio Canani, while Gabriel Charles will make his first start since December. He was scratched from a scheduled comeback June 23 with a minor illness, but worked well since.

“The only question about this horse is whether he can go two turns or not, that’s still a question,” trainer Jeff Mullins admits. “He’s had time to grow and mature, so we’re hoping he can.”