08/13/2013 2:26PM

Del Mar: Vibrato Jazz could catch a break in Thursday feature


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DEL MAR, Calif. – At Del Mar, optional-claiming runners are not created equal. Horses with allowance conditions are preferred in said races, horses in for a tag go to the back of the line. Says it right there, in nicer, stiffer language, on page 38 of the condition book.

Because of that, there is a curious development in the featured seventh race on Thursday at Del Mar, a 1 3/8-mile grass race for horses with a first-level allowance condition, or for $40,000 claimers. There are 14 entered in the $77,000 race, but a maximum of 10 can run. The four horses in for a tag make up the also-eligible list. They also appear to be the most likely winners of the race.

But if none of them get in, the 10 with allowance conditions will battle it out, and the most likely beneficiary could be Vibrato Jazz, third in a similar race July 25. Vibrato Jazz launched a powerful move on the backstretch in that race, but lost his punch late. That marked his 10th straight defeat since beating maidens in February 2012, but his trainer, John Sadler, hopes a more judicious ride can pay off.

“He made a big, premature move the other day,” Sadler said. “He made an early, early run from next to last.”

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Victor Espinoza was up that day and gets a chance to make amends Thursday.

Sadler also entered Stoney Fleece, but he is marooned on the also-eligible list. A winner six times in 21 starts, including on this turf course last time out July 25 against $40,000 claimers, Stoney Fleece would be among the major players if he were to draw in.

The most significant also-eligible is Lumberyard Jack, who was second in the July 25 race in which Vibrato Jazz was third. He is a five-time winner, including last year here going 1 3/8 miles on turf. Class dropper Lime Rickey, second in a pair of 1 3/8-mile races here last summer, and Shadow Runner, third to Stoney Fleece on July 25, are the other also-eligibles, all of whom figure prominently if they get in.

Of those in the main body of the field, the filly Nobilis could take up the early running with the addition of blinkers for her red-hot trainer, Simon Callaghan.

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

Unusual Beam usually settles for minor awards, but wasn’t beaten all that badly when fifth behind Stoney Fleece and Shadow Runner on July 25. He raced for a $40,000 claiming tag that day, but because he is using his allowance condition Thursday, he was preferred at entry time over Stoney Fleece and Shadow Runner.