Catch a Flight wins San Diego Handicap at Del Mar

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Argentine-bred Catch a Flight won the $200,000 San Diego Handicap on Saturday at Del Mar, moving up from third in the stretch to edge Appealing Tale by a head.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens and trained by Richard Mandella, the 5-year-old Catch a Flight ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.080 and paid $8.40, $3.80 and $2.80 for his 10th victory in 17 starts and fourth in seven U.S. races. He earned $120,000 to push his career total to $573,239.

”He warmed up differently today,” Stevens said. ”He was chilled out. He must like this Del Mar weather. He was all hot up at Santa Anita, especially for the Gold Cup. I had real confidence in him today. I worked him the other morning and he went great. He’s doing so good.”

Appealing Tale returned $6.80 and $4.40, and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern paid $3 to show in the seven horse field.

”He didn’t try,” Bayern rider Martin Garcia said. ”I don’t know if something’s wrong, but he didn’t try.”

Hoppertunity was fourth, followed by Sahara Sky, Sammy Mandeville and Majestic City.

Mandella said Catch a Flight will make his next start in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 22.

”He won a lot of races in Brazil, not against the highest competition, but it gave him a good bit of experience,” Mandella said. ”He came here and he just keeps getting better and better. He was meant to sit back, but it looked like they were kind of getting away from him at the last turn and I was a little worried. But I guess they used themselves enough that he caught them.”

In the co-featured $200,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies, Big Book rallied to beat Kiss At Midnight by 2 1/4 lengths.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano and trained by Tim Yakteen, Big Book ran seven furlongs in 1:24.770 and paid $9.40, $4 and $2.40 for her third victory without a loss. She earned $110,000 to increase her total to $178,400.

”She had something left at the end and I could tell,” Bejarano said. ”I was riding her with confidence. We were all up in there, but my filly was very comfortable. Even though it was close there for a while, I felt like I could take the race whenever I wanted.”

Kiss At Midnight returned $6.60 and $3, and Sheer Pleasure paid $2.10.

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