08/15/2008 11:00PM

Delta's Storm comes in off near miss

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Delta's Storm's California debut in a five-furlong turf race at Del Mar on July 27 showed there is little margin for error in such races.

Delta Storm, a 7-year-old gelding, stalked pacesetter Within Reason and raced in traffic on the backstretch, then could not close the gap, losing by three-quarters of a length as the 4-5 favorite. Despite the loss, the performance makes him a standout to win a similar event in Monday's seventh race at Del Mar.

Trainer Mike Mitchell thinks that Delta Storm only needs to repeat that effort to win. Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard for the July 27 race, has the mount again.

"He got checked a little," Mitchell said. "You can't wait in five-furlong grass races.

"I think he'll be tough in there. The jockey learned something about him, too. I think he seems like a gutty kind of horse that will take off and not give up."

Owned by Michael House, Delta Storm was claimed for $40,000 at Churchill Downs on May 26, the day he won a five-furlong turf sprint. He has won 7 of 21 starts and $181,440, emphasizing his credentials as the favorite on Monday.

Plus, Delta Storm does not have much to beat. The race has drawn a field of six, and several did not run very well last time. There are two exceptions - My City By the Bay and Easy on the Eye, who were third and fourth behind Within Reason on July 27.

My City By the Bay, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Jack Carava, was beaten two lengths by Within Reason.

"He was kind of in a bad spot and had to check going into the turn," Carava said.

My City By the Bay was claimed by Carava for $40,000 at Hollywood Park on June 28, the day he finished second by a head in a six-furlong turf race. My City By the Bay is winless in three starts since taking an optional claimer at five furlongs on turf here last summer.

Trainer Steve Knapp starts Easy on the Eye, an Australian-bred 6-year-old gelding who made his U.S. debut on July 27. A winner of 4 of 18 starts, Easy on the Eye won a six-furlong turf race in New Zealand last December, but was disqualified and placed third for causing interference.

Northern California trainer Greg Gilchrist has a rare Del Mar starter in Summer Haze, who won an optional claimer at five furlongs on turf at Golden Gate Fields in April.