News and STORIES

Nolde Wins Del Mar Derby

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday September 02, 2019
Jerome Moss' homebred Nolde won the Del Mar Derby (G2T) on Sunday at Del Mar after splitting horses in the stretch. The $251,404 race was the first stakes win of his career. 

Bumpy Start

The 1 1/8-mile turf race started off unexpectedly as there was some bumping from the outside posts. As Kingly broke inward from the far outside, he ran into Nolo Contesto. Jockey Mario Gutierrez, who was aboard Kingly, quickly recovered and steadied the horse. 

After Kingly and Gutierrez were back running normal, they moved out to the front of the field and took a three-length lead on the backside. 

The Running

As Kingly ran in the lead, Neptune's Storm and Florent Geroux were tracking behind from off the rail. Kingly posted fractions of :23.44 and :47.80 for the half-mile. When Gutierrez and Kingly attempted to slow the pace, Neptune's Storm wouldn't allow it as he pressed forward. He was close behind Kingly as six furlongs went in 1:11.63. 

Neptune's Storm began to move into the top of the lane, and he eventually pushed forward before coming up alongside Kinglsy. As they went into the turn, Neptune's Storm pulled away to take the lead. 

He didn't last long out front as Victor Espinoza and Nolde found an opening off the rail. They moved forward to place themselves between Neptune's Storm and Kingly. 

Originaire made a four-wide challenge for the lead as the late-running Hackberry followed behind. Nolde held on in the front and was able to maintain momentum to the wire before winning by a neck in a final time of 1:46.98. 

Originaire came in second as Neptune's Storm finished in third. Hackberry pushed forward to cross the line fourth. 

The rest of the field followed with Kingly, Moody Jim, Nolo Contesto, Visitant, and Parsimony to complete the order, respectively. 

Espinoza spoke about Nolde's performance after the race.

"I thought I had an awesome chance (at the quarter pole)," Espinoza said. "Pretty much the whole race I had control. I started getting a little tired on the backside, so I had to rest a little bit for the end. He's not an easy horse to figure out, but between John (Shirreffs) and I — and John is an amazing trainer and has done an amazing job with this horse because he has the talent — you have to let him come to you in the way he does it. He's an awesome horse, and we got the job done." 

First Encounter With Graded Company

Nolde encountered graded company for the first time, and he came into the race after finishing second in the July 17 Runhappy Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar. He broke his maiden on May 3 at Santa Anita Park, and he went on to score a 3/4-length win at Southern California track in an allowance optional claiming race. 

"Sometimes when you get on this horse, he's nice and easygoing," Espinoza said. "Not today. He was strong, like a bull. I like that. He was telling me he was ready. When we ran last time, I knew he ran a good race, but I knew he'd be better next time. He's got a long stride, and distance is going to be good for him. He's not an easy horse to ride, but he's got a lot of talent. We've just got to figure out a way to bring it out. When I sent him inside today, he just went. He was ready."

"The Oceanside prepared him nicely for this, which was the plan," Shirreffs said. "We were very happy with the way the horse trained for the race. Victor has ridden him a number of times and really knows the horse. He got him settled in a nice position, and Nolde has a really nice turn of foot. We're happy to have him ride our horses. He's a great rider."

Nolde was bred in Kentucky out of the Dixie Union mare Sister Moon, and he is the son of Pioneer of the Nile. His record now sits at 3-2-1 from eight starts, and his earnings are $270,470.