08/16/2017 2:16PM

He Will just might in Del Mar Handicap

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Benoit & Associates
He Will (left) finishes second by a head to My Italian Babbo in the California Dreamin' Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – It is possible He Will could go from being the narrow loser of a California-bred stakes in late July to holding a berth for the Breeders’ Cup Turf by Saturday evening.

He Will, a former maiden claimer, will have his second start in a graded stakes in Saturday’s Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf, a distance that should suit the 5-year-old horse, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said.

The winner of the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap will receive a fees-paid berth to the BC Turf here Nov. 4. Such a race would seem too lofty a goal for He Will, but there is no heavy favorite among the expected runners in the Del Mar Handicap.

He Will was second by a head as the 9-10 favorite in the California Dreamin’ Stakes here at 1 1/16 miles on turf. He led with a furlong to go before losing to My Italian Babbo.

“He was unlucky to get beat,” Hollendorfer said.

The Del Mar Handicap distance is a test for He Will, who has won 5 of 15 starts and earned $241,274.

“I think he can do it,” Hollendorfer said. “He ran well and he’s been training well, so why not?”

The Del Mar Handicap will have a large field expected to be led by Ashleyluvssugar, winner of the race in 2016, and Itsinthepost, winner of graded stakes at Santa Anita and Keeneland earlier this year. Other probable starters are Big John B, Flamboyant, Hunt, Inordinate, Liam the Charmer, Monster Bea, Prime Attraction, and Up With the Birds.

Hollendorfer starts Tapped in Saturday’s Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies, which will be her stakes debut on grass. Tapped was a fast-closing fourth in an optional claimer at five furlongs on turf July 20 in her first start in more than three months.

The field for the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks is expected to be led by Madam Dancealot, who won the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap on July 23. She is likely to face Beau Recall, Blame It On Alphie, Con Te Partiro, Dream Dancing, Kathy’s Song, Kenda, Meadowsweet, Pacific Wind, and Vexatious.

The Hollendorfer stable’s turf division was led by Sircat Sally, who won her first seven starts before suffering an injury when third in the San Clemente Handicap. Sircat Sally has since undergone surgery to stabilize an injured leg and is recovering at Hollendorfer’s stable at Los Alamitos.

Owned by Joe Turner, Sircat Sally is likely to be retired for breeding.

“It’s not out of the question she could make a comeback, but I think Joe Turner is leaning toward breeding her,” Hollendorfer said.

Hollendofer said he will be active with runners at all levels of races through the end of the meeting on Sept. 4 and is hoping his stable’s luck changes. Through Sunday, he had 3 wins from 49 starts with 20 second- or third-place finishes. He had 5 wins in 75 starts with 18 second- or third-place finishes for the entire 2016 summer season.

“We’re having a better meet than last year, [and] we’ve had a lot of horses in the money,” Hollendorfer said. “It’s a firm belief in this barn that if you work hard good things will happen.”

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