It was horses for courses at Del Mar on Saturday, as both feature races were won by Madone and United. The sea air can be an intoxicating delight for some humans; why shouldn’t it be the same for some horses? Let’s take a look over these 2 great races recap!

United won the G2 Eddie Read Stakes

The main event was the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes, for three-year-olds and up, and last year’s winner United would have been a strong fancy but for his uncharacteristically poor performance at Santa Anita on his most recent start. Trainer Richard Mandella had placed the blame for that blowout on a minor foot injury; and this time the six-year-old put his best foot forward; coming from midfield under Flavien Prat to seize control of the $250,000 contest in the late stretch and out game even-money favorite Smooth Like Strait.

The outcome remained in the balance until United asserted close to home; hitting the wire a neck in the front and going through the nine furlongs on firm turf in 1:49.49. Late closer Count Again kept on for third. United, whose stamina is usually stretched over a little further but who evidently still has the kick for shorter, paid out at $8.60 and became the first horse to double up in the Eddie Read since Acclamation nine years ago.

United has never finished out of the first two in five starts at Del Mar, winning three times, and he will likely return next month for the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, in which he finished runner-up 12 months ago and where the extra quarter-mile will play to his strengths. Smooth Like Strait was conceding the winner 4lb and emerged from the race with much credit, just going under to the stronger stayer.

Madone maintained her perfect record at Del Mar in the San Clemente S

Two races later Madone, who like United was coming off a heavy defeat at Santa Anita, took one lungful of the salty air and remembered where she was. Her victory in the $200,000 Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes, for three-year-old fillies over a mile of turf, maintained her perfect record at Del Mar, where she is now three from three.

On a bare reading of the form book she had little chance of halting the winning streak of odds-on favorite Going Global, who had Madone more than ten lengths behind in the Honeymoon at Santa Anita – but we all know that Honeymoon feeling doesn’t last forever; and although Going Global seemed to have the race in her grasp at the furlong pole, Madone, who came four wide on the turn; produced a devastating finishing sprint that saw her home by a half-length.

Madone, trained by Simon Callaghan and ridden by Juan Hernandez in the patriotic stars and stripes silks of owner Kaleem Shah, paid out at $13.60 and stopped the clock at a tick over 1:35. Tetragonal survived a stewards’ inquiry to hang on to the third spot, a length of the runner-up.

The winner is booked to return for the $300,000 Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks next month; and will likely find several of her beaten rivals lying in wait for her again. Will it be a different day; the same result for the tough little filly who does love to be beside the seaside?

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