08/03/2012 9:46PM

Del Mar: Unusual Heatwave runs down Rousing Sermon to win Real Good Deal.


DEL MAR, Calif. – Unusual Heatwave can sprint or route, run on turf or the main track, but he found seven furlongs on Polytrack the ideal conditions early Friday evening when he rallied to capture the $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at Del Mar.

Unusual Heatwave ($8.80) gave jockey Rafael Bejarano, the meet’s leading rider, his seventh stakes win of the meet from the 14 run so far. And he provided trainer Alexis Barba with her first Del Mar stakes win.

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To prevail, Unusual Heatwave had to rally from last to first in the seven-horse field. Rousing Sermon surged to the front at the quarter pole, but Unusual Heatwave ran him down in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length. Rousing Sermon finished 3 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Got Even, who set the early pace. Derby Gold, the 2-1 favorite, was fifth.

Unusual Heatwave completed seven furlongs in 1:22.35.

The win was the third in 12 starts for Unusual Heatwave, who had finished second in the Tsunami Slew at one mile on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park in his previous start. In his only previous race at Del Mar, last summer, he finished second in a maiden race when making his career debut. Barba trains Unusual Heatwave, a colt by Unusual Heat, for a partnership that includes Ellen and Peter Johnson and Teresa McWilliams.

“He’s probably best at 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill,” Barba said, referring to a popular distance at Santa Anita, “up to a mile, but this is probably the best distance as far as sprinting.”

The Real Good Deal had been worth $100,000 in its 14 most recent runnings, but the purse was doubled this year because of the new Golden State Series for California-bred or –sired runners.

“How can you pass up $200,000?” Barba said. “That’s the bottom line.”