September 21, 2023

Encumbered finds post 13 no burden in Del Mar Juvenile Turf

Encumbered is the latest Simon Callaghan juvenile to emerge as a Breeders' Cup prospect at Del Mar © BENOIT PHOTO

Trainer Simon Callaghan’s two-year-olds are in such rare form at the moment that not even post 13 in Sunday’s $103,105 Del Mar Juvenile Turf could thwart his Encumbered. With jockey Mario Gutierrez engineering a fine trip, the Reddam Racing colorbearer has entered the reckoning for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) over this same course and one-mile trip.

Callaghan is already loaded in the Breeders’ Cup dirt events in the division, after Moonshine Memories captured the Del Mar Debutante (G1) on Saturday and as unbeaten Run Away seeks his fourth straight in Monday’s Del Mar Futurity (G1). And he’s got two going in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf on the Labor Day card as well, Thisoleheartofmine and Dawn Traveller.

Encumbered, fourth to Run Away in his career debut in the Santa Anita Juvenile, rolled next time when stretching out to a mile on the Del Mar turf. Although beating My Boy Jack that day, Encumbered was dispatched as the 7-2 second choice in the Sunday rematch, and My Boy Jack was favored at 3-1. But Encumbered angled across into a good spot in fifth, pounced at the right instant, got first run, and safely held his familiar foe by a half-length in a final time of 1:35.90 on the firm course.

Now the earner of $102,000 from his 3-2-0-0 line, Encumbered was a pinhook success. Nikki Burns bought the bay yearling for $33,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July, and he was resold through Top Line Sales, agent, for $225,000 at OBS this April. Encumbered is out of the Street Cry mare Dying to Dance, from the further family of transatlantic turf stars Mrs. Penny and Hatoof.

His pedigree is versatile, however, and Callaghan indicated that Encumbered could well try dirt again down the line. For the near term, he’ll likely pursue his turf options.

Quotes from Del Mar

Jockey Mario Gutierrez on Encumbered: “(Trainer Simon Callaghan) said there were a lot of maidens in the race, a lot of green horses. He said just don’t get in trouble. Find a spot and stay out of trouble. We were able to do that and got a good trip. He likes running on the grass. And I like riding him.”

Winning trainer Simon Callaghan: “He broke well and Mario did a super good job of getting him over (toward the rail). Sometimes you can get hung out wide in these sort of big field turf races. But Mario got him over, got him relaxed and the race worked out for us. This has been a really good meet for us. The team has done a great job, we’ve had some momentum and things have worked out for the best.”

Jockey Corey Nakatani on runner-up My Boy Jack: “I had a pretty good trip. The winner is a nice horse, but my horse ran well, too. He’s still a little green; I don’t think we’ve gotten to the bottom of him yet. I told (trainer Keith Desormeaux) that I think he might do well with blinkers. He’s going to think it over.”

Martin Garcia on how third-placer Kazan responded to his ride: “This is the first time I’ve ridden him. I found out he doesn’t like to go between horses. When I swung him outside, he took off.”