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Claiming horses is red hot at Del Mar

July 29, 2011 |  2:34 pm

Fabforum With the highest purses in the nation, Del Mar has become the place to claim horses this summer and try to make money. On Thursday, there were 19 claims submitted for a single horse, Via Verde, who won the fifth race. Trainer Mike Pender won the competition to pay $20,000 for the 4-year-old gelding.

But the best claim of the day might have been pulled off by trainer John Sadler. In the eighth race, the 2-year-old Stoney Fleece made his debut, breaking slow in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race, getting steadied and racing in last place in the 11-horse field before rallying with a memorable stretch run under jockey Joe Talamo to win by a neck.

Sadler claimed Stoney Fleece, a son of Decarchy, for $40,000 from trainer Mike Puype. The previous owner had paid $1,200 for Stoney Fleece, according to Puype. Stoney Fleece earned $18,600 for the win. The final time of 1:06.01 wasn't particularly good, but the way Stoney Fleece finished was impressive.

As for losing Stoney Fleece in a claim, Puype said, "It is what it is. We'll know how it turns out down the road."

-- Eric Sondheimer