May 26, 2024

Elm Drive resolute in Sorrento score

Elm Drive and jockey Juan Hernandez, right, outleg Eda, left, to win the Sorrento Stakes (Photo by Benoit Photo)

Little Red Feather Racing’s Elm Drive remained unbeaten in Friday’s $200,000 Sorrento S. (G2) at Del Mar, gamely turning back Eda by a head in the six-furlong test for two-year-old fillies. Juan Hernandez was up for Phil D’Amato on the daughter of Mohaymen.

Off as the 23-10 third choice following an eight-length debut maiden win at Los Alamitos in late June, Elm Drive track an opening quarter mile in :22 before advancing to take the lead on the far turn. The bay filly faced a challenge from Eda entering the stretch, and the duo dueled to the wire, but the runner-up could never get past a determined Elm Drive, who stopped the teletimer in 1:10.64.

“Phil didn’t give me any special instructions,” Hernandez said. “He just said play the break and put her in a good spot. She broke well and I had her where I wanted her. When we turned for home and the other filly (Eda) came up outside us, my filly got real brave. She dug in. She’s not afraid to fight. She’s a good one.” 

“She broke on top then Juan got her to rate, make a move and fight off a rival to her outside the length of the stretch,” D’Amato added. “I just thought that’s the epitome of class. Very professional.”

The rest of the field wound up far back. Eda, who left the starting gate as the 21-10 second choice, finished 13 1/4 lengths better than 13-10 favorite Smash Ticket, who broke poorly and was forced to steady during the early stages. Sax, She’s So Shiny, Roses for Suzzett, Loveherheart, and First Promise completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Kenneth D’Oyen, Elm Drive counts stakes winner Mother of Dragons as a half-sister. She sold for $40,000 as a yearling before being purchased by her owners for $165,000 at the OBS March two-year-old sale this spring.

D’Amato said Elm Drive will target the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) at seven furlongs on Sept. 5.

“I think she’s the type of filly that the longer (the races), the better.”