California Chrome edges Dortmund

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DEL MAR, CALIF. >> California Chrome beat Dortmund by a half-length Saturday at Del Mar in the Grade 2 $200,000 San Diego Handicap, the 1 1/16-mile prep for the Grade I $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 20.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza for trainer Art Sherman, the 2014 Horse of the Year was making his first start since winning the world's most lucrative race, the $10 million World Cup in Dubai on March 26.

"I saved something for the end. I knew I'd have to," Espinoza said. "I have a lot of respect for Dortmund and he made me run hard. I could see he (Dortmund) was running so hard. When we came down the stretch, I was concerned. This horse was carrying a lot of weight; that was the challenge. But he was a runner all the way today. What a terrific comeback race for him. He's back. He's such a special horse."

California Chrome finished in 1:40.84 and paid $3.60, $2.20 and $2.10. The 5-year-old has 13 victories in 22 starts with earnings of $12,652,650.

Dortmund returned $2.40 and $2.10, and Win the Space paid $2.10 to show.

Mokat won the $201,725 San Clemente Handicap for 3-year-old fillies. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Mokat won by almost four lengths in 1:35.23 for the mile on the turf course.

Mokat paid $16.40, $7.20 and $4.80 for her second victory in nine starts. Lady Valeur returned $9.60 and $5.60, and Stays In Vegas paid $3.80.

Unbeaten Enola Gray romped to a 7 3/4-length victory Friday in the $150,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Ridden by Tyler Baze for trainer Phil D'Amato, Enola Gray ran seven furlongs in a stakes-record 1:21.24. The previous record of 1:21.40 was set by Princess Royalty in 1990.

"I've never won a race any easier," Baze said. "She's just unbelievable. She's so special. I'd say the race was probably over by the half-mile pole. She just goes so easy. All I've got to do is keep her happy. She handles all the rest."

Enola Gray paid $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 for her third career victory.

"She's learning to relax in her races and flash a turn of foot," D'Amato said. "She's slowly coming around. She showed a new dimension today, she sat off the pace and kicked home and did it the right way. There's still a lot of room for improvement and development in her. We're just going to take it step by step and see what happens. I don't have any plans for her next race yet."

Allsquare returned $3.20 and $2.40, and Fantasy of Luck paid $2.20 to show.


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