08/30/2008 11:00PM

Vacare breaks through in Palomar

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Vacare found out that the grass was greener on the other side of the country. She shipped to California from New York and made off with the Grade 2, $200,000 Palomar Handicap on Saturday at Del Mar, emerging best in a three-way drive to the wire.

Vacare, fanned six lanes wide into the stretch, outbattled Kris' Sis to her inside and Gotta Have Her to her outside and prevailed by a half-length. Kris' Sis and Gotta Have Her finished in a dead heat for second in the field of 10 older fillies and mares.

Corey Nakatani rode Vacare ($5.20), the favorite, who completed 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:40.64. Nakatani is now tied with Eddie Delahoussaye and Bill Shoemaker for third on Del Mar's list of stakes-winning jockeys with 94 wins, two behind second-place Laffit Pincay Jr.

Jon and Sarah Kelly, who live in nearby Rancho Santa Fe, own Vacare, who is trained by Christophe Clement. This was the first victory of the meet for Clement, who has a handful of horses at Del Mar with assistant Nicholas Bachalard.

"I'm pretty happy for the owners, because they kept her in training as a 5-year-old," Bachalard said.

The victory was the seventh in 11 starts for Vacare, and her fifth stakes win. This was her third start of the year, the previous two coming in Grade 1 company in New York. She finished eighth in the Just a Game at Belmont Park, and was fourth in the Diana at Saratoga.