When Kayla Stra and Chantal Sutherland won races on opening day at Del Mar on Wednesday, it maked the first time in track history that two female jockeys won races on the same day.
Stra won the second aboard King Ledley ($18) for trainer Gus Headley and Sutherland came back four races later to score on Mentidoso ($38.40) for Vann Belvoir.
Sutherland returned Thursday to win aboard Certified Diamond, another Belvoir-trained runner, in the fourth for a $13.80 payoff. The Sutherland-Belvoir combo is two for two at this meet and three for four lifetime.
The victory aboard Mentidoso was the first at Del Mar for Sutherland, who had ridden only three races previously at the seaside oval. Stra, who began riding at Del Mar in 2008, had won previously at the track.
“I know Chantal was happy for Kayla,” said Brian Beach, Sutherland’s agent.
Earlier this week, Sutherland told me all three regular female riders on the Southland circuit, Joy Scott included, pull for each other.
“I think girls always kind of root for each other, especially the three of us,” the Canadian native said. “We get along really well in the room. They’re really nice girls. I’m happy to see that Kayla is starting to pick up more business and she’s doing good, and Joy is just wonderful to have around and I always hope the best for her.”
Through the first two days of the meet, Sutherland was one of only five jockeys to win two or more races. Rafael Bejarano was atop the rider standings with three wins and Joel Rosario, the defending riding champ, was winless in 10 tries.
Certifield Diamond was the first horse to win a race under Del Mar’s new “Ship and Win” program, which makes a horse eligiible for a 20 percent bonus on top of purse money won if its previous race was run out of state.
The 4-year-old Tahoe City gelding ran previously at Emerald Downs in Washington, meaning in addition to the $12,000 winner’s share, owner Walter Thompson received a $2,400 bonus.
Thompson also received an additional $1,000 bonus for starting Certified Diamond in the $8,000 claiming event.