Originaire gets tepid nod in wide-open Del Mar Derby

The Grade II, $250,000 Del Mar Derby anchors the action on Sunday at Del Mar. The 1 1/8-mile turf heat drew a field of 10, including La Jolla Handicap winner KINGLY. Post time for the Del Mar Derby, Race 9 of 10 on the program, is 9:09 p.m. ET.

#4 ORIGINAIRE (4-1) ran out of the money in his first three stateside starts, but shipping to Del Mar proved wise as he beat allowance foes impressively. There was no pace for him to work with but he made up ground from last to win drawing away. ORIGINAIRE should at least have honest fractions to work with today as well as an extra 1/16th of a mile. Mike Smith will be in the irons once more.

#5 NEPTUNE’S STORM (7-2, morning-line favorite) nearly reeled in KINGLY in the La Jolla last time out but had to settle for second. The son of Stormy Atlantic had won two straight turf stakes going into that start. NEPTUNE’S STORM won his only start at today’s distance and lures Florent Geroux for the Del Mar Derby.

#10 KINGLY (9-2) was shrewdly ridden by Mario Gutierrez in the La Jolla and went gate-to-wire, albeit barely. He won’t catch anyone by surprise this time around though, and the extra 1/16th will probably hurt his cause. Still, KINGLY is tough to leave out of the equation based on speed figures.

#9 NOLO CONTESTO (8-1) rallied off fast fractions in his turf debut and nearly won, finishing second by a neck. He switches to Flavien Prat for the Del Mar Derby and is working sharply for John Sadler. NOLO CONTESTO is one to watch for late as he picks up a furlong.

#2 HACKBERRY (20-1) could hit the board at a square price. He broke his maiden over this course when last seen and was a solid second in two route tries at Santa Anita earlier this year. Based on pedigree, HACKBERRY should relish today’s distance. Martin Garcia maintains the assignment.

The play: $2 exacta 4/2,5,9,10, $1 exacta 5,10/4 ($10)

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