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    Del Mar racing: Senor Buscador comes from behind to win San Diego Handicap
    • July 30, 2023

    DEL MAR — They say pace makes the race and, according to trainer Todd Fincher, that’s certainly the case with Senor Buscador.

    The 5-year-old son of Mineshaft got plenty of early speed to run on Saturday and rallied in the stretch for a 1¼-length victory over Slow Down Andy in the $300,000 Grade II San Diego Handicap at Del Mar.

    Ridden by Geovanni Franco, the winner went postward at 13-1 and ran the 1-1/16 miles in 1:42.54 in the major prep race for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Sept. 2.”

    The horse ran to his ability,” said Fincher, who is based in New Mexico but has 11 horses in his barn for Del Mar’s 31-day summer meet. “This horse has outstanding talent, he just needs a pace to run at. When you run against Grade I’s, Grade II’s and Grade III’s, you need a pace and we got one. He showed up. He always tries. When things don’t go his way it’s really frustrating because he doesn’t fight through ’em sometimes. This time it set up and he showed what he can do.”

    Last in the nine-horse field after the first half mile, Senor Buscador had moved into fourth by the head of the stretch and sailed by Slow Down Andy in the final stages to post his sixth victory in 12 starts and pad his career earnings to $667,427 with the winner’s share of $180,000.

    Brickyard Ride, with Umberto Rispoli aboard, set fast fractions of 23.03, 46.30 and 1:10.36 to set it up for Senor Buscador and make the horse’s connections happy they decided to run him in the San Diego rather than wait for a turf race. Brickyard Ride hung around to grab third, 1¾ lengths behind the runner-up.

    “We’ve had so many races in mind for the horse,” Fincher said after his first stakes victory at Del Mar. “We were just trying to pick a race that had the speed to set up a decent pace for him. When we nominated it looked like a lot of speed. If not, we were going to go in the Eddie Read, try him on the grass, but this race looked like we were going to have plenty of pace so we went for this.”

    Defunded, the 4-5 favorite with Juan Hernandez aboard, finished a disappointing fourth, a half-length behind Brickyard Ride.

    Senor Buscador, who finished eighth in last year’s San Diego while finishing 9¾ lengths behind the winner, Royal Ship, won for the first time in three tries over Del Mar’s main surface. It was the first time Franco rode the horse.

    “When I asked him at the three-eighths (pole), he just went,” Franco said. “He really dug in. We got it done.”

    Asked if Senor Buscador will try the Pacific Classic if he comes out of the race in good shape, Fincher didn’t hesitate.

    “That’s a possibility for sure,” he said. “Anything for this horse. We’ll put him wherever we think he can win.”


    The Chosen Vron showed he’s not just a Cal-bred specialist, rallying from sixth in the 12-horse lineup to win the $400,000 Grade I sprint by a head over Anarchist. Dr. Schivel, the 9-5 favorite, was another head back in third.

    It was the eighth straight victory for the 5-year-old gelded son of Vronsky, who earned an all-expenses paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 with the victory. The previous wins were all against fellow Cal-breds. His second stakes victory against open company (he won the Grade III Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita in June 2021) was his 13th win in 17 starts and pushed his career earnings over the $1 million mark ($1,032,678).

    Spirit of Makena, sent postward as the 4-1 second choice in the wagering, broke slowly and had trouble on the turn for home. Joe Bravo did not persevere with the 5-year-old in the stretch and he finished last.Final time for the 6 furlongs was 1:09.24.

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    ​ Orange County Register