BEST PAL STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | GRADE 1 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | 6 1/2 FURLONGS
DEL MAR, Calif. -- Creative Cause won his stakes debut in Sunday's $150,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar to remain perfect in two starts, and the colt's performance was as flawless as his record.
Rated off the pace for the first half-mile by jockey Rafael Bejarano, Creative Cause swooped by pacesetters I'll Have Another and Brigand in early stretch and drew off with minimal urging to win by 1 3/4 lengths over I'll Have Another. The victory is likely to make Creative Cause the favorite for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7.
Bejarano rode Creative Cause to a front-running win in a maiden race at Hollywood Park last month, but kept the colt off the pace in the Grade 2 Best Pal, per trainer Mike Harrington's wishes. Creative Cause was fifth on the backstretch, and drew closer approaching the turn.
"When everyone moved at the three-eighths pole, I was in perfect position and waited for the stretch," Bejarano said. "I just hit him one time. I thought another horse would be coming. He showed me a big kick in the stretch."
Creative Cause ($3.60) ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.62. I'll Have Another, a maiden race winner at Hollywood Park also making his stakes debut, finished 3 1/4 lengths in front of the 14-1 third-place finisher Mighty Monsoon in a field of six. I'll Have Another and Mighty Monsoon may start in the Del Mar Futurity, their trainers said.
Creative Cause, by Giant's Causeway out of the millionaire racemare Dream of Summer, has earned $123,000. He was bought privately in the spring by owner Heinz Steinmann.