Collusion Illusion upset the rest of the field to win the $200,351 Best Pal Stakes (G2) on Saturday at Del Mar. He went against five other rivals in the race, that was only the second start of his career.
He broke from post 5 under jockey Joe Talamo at 7/1 odds. At the start of the race, Collusion Illusion sat behind four other horses. When they got to the far turn through the opening 1/4 mile in :22.13, Thanks Mr. Edison was running on the outside of Raging Whiskey.
At the top of the stretch, Collusion Illusion started to drive forward steadily. He moved past the rest of the field to win the six-furlong sprint over the fast main track. He finished in a final time of 1:11.34.
“I had the beautiful trip, and the speed set it up right,” Talamo said. “I was impressed with my horse, the way he gutted it out down the lane, and I think the farther, the better with him. Wait ’til he goes 7/8 (of a mile) or two turns; then you’re going to see the best of him.”
After the break from the posts, Wrecking Crew moved to the inside and fell back, but he was able to make a move late to pass up the 4/5 favorite Fore Left for second. Thanks Mr. Edison finished in fourth, while We’re Still Here was in fifth. Raging Whiskey finished the order in sixth.
Schrodinger, the 2/1 morning-line favorite, was scratched after having a fever.
Collusion Illusion Impresses in Short Time
Mark Glatt-trained Collusion Illusion has only started in one other race. He won the straight maiden race at Del Mar on July 21 for owners Dan Agnew, Jerry Schneider, John Xitco, and Rodney Orr.
Collusion Illusion was bred in Florida by Donald R. Dizney out of the First Dude mare Natalie Grace. He was purchased for $300,000 by Glatt from Mayberry Farm’s consignment to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
Glatt spoke about the impressive horse, who still has a lot of running left.
“He’s been nothing but a pro from Day One since we got him after the sale,” he said. “He was probably ready earlier than the race he actually debuted in, but we decided to wait for Del Mar, and we’re extremely pleased with him. This race came up a little bit quick, I usually like to give a horse more time after his debut, but he’s such a classy horse, and he never missed a bite of grain.
“I thought about running him back in the Futurity but who knows what will happen between now and September, and he was ready to run now. I wouldn’t rule out the Futurity. That might be a little too aggressive with him, but we’ll keep it as an option.”
The Best Pal is the major prep race for the $300,000 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) at seven furlongs on Sept. 2, the closing day of races. So, it would make sense for Collusion Illusion to run in that race.
The Big Returns
Since Collusion Illusion upset the rest of the field, the returns were impressive. He paid $17.40 to win, $7.40 to place, and $3.20 to show. Wrecking Crew, owned by Rockingham Ranch and Bernsen, returned $4.20 to place and $2.80 to show. In third place was Fore Left, racing for Reddam Racing and winner of the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park in June. He returned $2.20 to show.