Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.
Trainer Walther Solis will send out two colts in each of the featured events for 2-year-olds in the next two days. Finneus and Thirsty Always are set to go in Saturday’s $200,000 Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes and Mr. T’s Thirsty and Rock N Rye in Sunday’s $100,000 Graduation Stakes.
They are all California-bred sons of Stay Thirsty owned in partnerships and bred by Terry C. Lovingier.
“Stay Thirstys have really good minds,” Solis said Saturday morning at his Del Mar barn, gesturing toward Finneus who was being given a race-day veterinary check. “Even the colts, they act like older horses.”
Finneus comes into the Best Pal off a maiden victory at Santa Anita Park in June. Thirsty Always is 2-for-2 with the most recent being a stakes at Pleasanton on the Northern California fair circuit. The duo of Rock N Rye and Mr. T’s Thirsty are the 8-5 favorite and 2-1 co-second choice, respectively, on Jon White’s morning line for Sunday’s Graduation Stakes.
Being a graded stake with a larger purse, the Best Pal would be a bigger feather in the cap of Solis, whose lone Del Mar Stakes victory to date came with My Fiona, the dam of Finneus, in the 2014 CTBA Stakes.
Solis, 59, formerly managed Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona for John and Betty Mabee, the longtime patriarch and matriarch of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and three-time Eclipse Award winners in the 1990s as the top Thoroughbred breeders in North America.
“I managed the farm for the Mabees for five years and Best Pal was before my time,” Solis said. “But when I was there we had General Challenge and a lot of other big horses. It would be nice to win a race like this. It’s a hope for a small guy.”
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