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D’Amato After Continued Success at Del Mar

A lot goes into being a successful Thoroughbred trainer. You have to be good with the horses. You have to know how to handle the different owners and the media. You must be good at organizing the dozens of employees needed to keep the operation running smoothly and you have to juggle it all with your personal life.

Philip D’Amato appears to have found the right formula, right down to getting his son to golf lessons on time. The 47-year-old Southern California native comes to Del Mar looking to notch his fourth consecutive trainers title having won it last fall, sharing it with Bob Baffert last summer and winning it outright in the fall of 2021.

On top of that, he won both training titles at Santa Anita this past winter and spring and he’s brought the same quality band of horses down to Del Mar this summer.

“With Del Mar, the money’s great and turf racing is at a premium here,” D’Amato says. “We always try to do our best here. You can tell by the deep fields it’s not going to be easy but we’re going to come out firing.”

He promptly notched his first stakes race by winning the initial stakes of the meet, Friday’s $100,000 Caesars Sportsbook Oceanside Stakes with Conclude.

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While D’Amato is not exclusively a grass trainer, he brings a string of impressive turf runners to the table. He’s won 11 graded stakes races so far this year, nine were on the grass and one was taken off-the-turf. The list of his winners is a who’s who of the turf division: Gold Phoenix, Macadamia, Count Again, Earls Rock and Hong Kong Harry. In the past he’s saddled the likes of Going to Vegas, Going Global, Leggs Galore, Midnight Storm, Bowies Hero and Obviously.

He’s done an excellent job of finding the right spots for all of his stars with minimum crossover. All the more impressive when you consider there’s no turf training at Santa Anita or anywhere in Southern California from the time the horses leave Del Mar in the fall until they come back in July.

“I think we’re all on a level playing field,” D’Amato says in regards to having no turf training up at Santa Anita. “I think it helps horses to breeze them on the grass but there are some horses where it doesn’t make a difference. You just have to know which ones.”

D’Amato had his best year ever, in terms of earnings, in 2022. His horses compiled winnings of $11,954,300, eighth best among trainers in the nation. He tallied 125 victories, 23 of those graded stakes, and his horses finished in the money 57% of the time. Many of those were Irish-breds. In fact all six of his graded stakes winners at Del Mar last year were from Ireland. D’Amato believes he has a good mix again this year.

“I think I’ve got plenty of good Irish-breds as well as Kentucky-breds and Cal-breds,” D’Amato says. “We’ve got a nice balanced stable at Del Mar.”

D’Amato has been running horses at Del Mar since 2012 and he wouldn’t be anywhere else come summertime.

“Definitely the change and the weather,” D’Amato says, “and the surroundings, you can’t beat it. The nice beach setting with the cool breezes and the nice lush turf course. A lot of pluses.”


This press release has not been edited by BloodHorse. If there are any questions please contact the organization that produced the release.

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