Lucayan, Barocci, and Jeranimo vainly chased California's top turf miler, Obviously, earlier this summer at Hollywood Park, but theoretically stand a better chance at success in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Eddie Read at Del Mar in that star's absence.
The Eddie Read, at 1 ⅛ miles on the turf, attracted a field of 10 and highlights a 10-race program at the San Diego-area course.
Lucayan, an upset winner of the French Two Thousand Guineas in 2012, made his U.S. debut against Obviously in the May 25 American Handicap. Unable to keep pace with that swift rival, Lucayan still showed good energy to rally for second by a neck over Barocci. Lucayan subsequently disappointed in the June 29 Shoemaker Mile, fading to last after tracking closer to the pace than he had in the American.
Barocci, meanwhile, rebounded from his American loss to capture a 1 1/16-mile allowance by a half-length over a pair of Grade 2 winners -- Compari and Old Time Hockey. Having preceded that win with a bullet work, Barocci might be in good shape to repeat following a bullet half-mile move over the Del Mar Polytrack on Wednesday.
The deep-closing Jeranimo, who only advanced one position from the rear in the five-horse Shoemaker Mile, has placed in both prior starts over the Del Mar turf, finishing second in the 2011 Eddie Read and third in last year's Del Mar Mile.
The primary speed in the Eddie Read on paper is the Bob Baffert-trained Fed Biz. Hero of the San Fernando on Santa Anita's main track last winter, the Giant's Causeway colt was subsequently third in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile and a head second in the Thunder Road in his first two attempts on grass. He exits a non-descript fifth-place effort in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont.
Sofast, a Group 3 winner in France as a juvenile in 2011, subsequently missed winning several other pattern races in photo finishes. He makes his U.S. debut in the Eddie Read for trainer Gary Mandella.
"He arrived on Tuesday and we're entering him right off the plane," Mandella said. "He has been competitive in France."
Middie, winner of the Washington Park Handicap on Polytrack last season, invades from Kentucky after finishing second to Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic two starts back.
The field is rounded out by Cogito, Fly Lexis Fly, Slim Shadey, and Vagabond Shoes.
Earlier Saturday, Unusual Hottie seeks her third consecutive stakes triumph in the restricted $90,000 Osunitas for fillies at mare at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The Jeff Mullins trainee captured the Fran's Valentine and the Redondo Beach, both over a mile, during the Hollywood Park meet.
Other contenders in the Osunitas include stakes veterans A Jealous Woman, Closing Range, Top Kisser, and Long Face. Another possibility is Maker Or Breaker, a daughter of Empire Maker who might improve on the switch to grass.