Eight fillies line up on Saturday in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) going seven furlongs, and Spectator will be looking to move her mark to a perfect three-for-three for trainer Philip D’Amato.
The Jimmy Creed filly broke her five-furlong maiden by 5 1/4 lengths on June 23 at Santa Anita Park, then shipped down to Del Mar to take the Sorrento Stakes (G2) on August 5 by that exact same margin. Spectator stretched out to 6 1/2 furlongs for her stakes bow last out and keeps regular rider Jamie Theriot in the saddle here.
Dancing Belle finished second to Spectator in the Sorrento, and is the only other filly in this field with prior stakes experience. The Keith Desormeaux pupil has yet to win, running sixth in her debut on June 9 and then a well-beaten third on July 2, both at Santa Anita, before traveling to Del Mar for a half-length second against maiden rivals on July 23. Kent Desormeaux has been aboard for the First Samurai filly’s past pair, including the Sorrento, and retains the mount.
Moonshine Memories, Gas Station Sushi, Just a Smidge and Poetic all captured their maidens as first asking last out at Del Mar. Moonshine Memories scored by a length on August 19 in a six-furlong contest while Gas Station Sushi prevailed by 3 1/2 lengths on August 6 going 6 1/2 furlongs. Just a Smidge won a five-furlong maiden by 1 1/4 lengths on July 19 and Poetic posted a 1 1/2-length victory in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden on July 30.
“They’re two-year-olds that have shown promise. It’s what we do at this time of year,” trainer Richard Baltas said in regards to running Gas Station Sushi in a Grade 1 off one race.
Completing the Del Mar Debutante field are Gabrielleelizabeth, who broke her maiden in her second try on July 23 at Gulfstream Park, and Piedi Bianchi, also a second out winner when capturing a Del Mar maiden on August 12.
Two races later on Del Mar’s Saturday card, a baker’s dozen of turf distaffers take to the track in the $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (G2).
Decked Out returns in this nine-furlong grass test following an eight-month layoff, having last been seen taking the American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita by a nose on New Year’s Eve. The four-year-old Street Boss filly just missed by a head two prior in her only try over this turf in the Del Mar Oaks (G1), and goes out in the Mabee for the Desormeaux brothers.
Cambodia faces off against Pretty Girl and Amboseli for the second straight time here. The trio duked it out in the August 5 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2), with Cambodia getting the three-quarter length win over Pretty Girl, who in turn had a head to spare on Amboseli.
Drayden Van Dyke returns to Cambodia’s saddle, Mike Smith rides Pretty Girl for the third straight time and Victor Espinoza retains the mount on Amboseli.
Hillhouse High and Frenzified also took part in the Yellow Ribbon, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, and try again in the John Mabee.
“Amboseli runs great most every time, I love that filly. (Frenzified) just didn’t have a chance to run last time. She got trapped down inside, which seems to have happened a lot to us this meet,” said trainer Jim Cassidy, who saddled both Amboseli and Frenzified in the Yellow Ribbon. “The extra distance will help both of them.”
Also in with a chance Saturday is Goodyearforroses, who gets the blinkers taken off after a half-length second to multiple Grade 1 queen Lady Eli in the Gamely Stakes (G1) last out on May 27. The Asamour mare has yet to try Del Mar’s turf but keeps Corey Nakatani aboard.