Danny A. Eplin’s Dreamfyre became freshman sire Flameaway’s first stakes winner with her sharp debut in the July 9 Everett Nevin S., and the speedy juvenile followed up with a graded coup in Saturday’s $201,000 Sorrento (G3) at Del Mar. Now 2-for-2, Dreamfyre has stated her case to advance to the Sept. 9 Del Mar Debutante (G1).
The O.J. Jauregui pupil went off as the 3.60-1 third choice, as bettors were torn between a pair of higher-profile maiden winners in Benedetta and Dua. Benedetta, from the Simon Callaghan barn, just shaded the Bob Baffert-trained Dua for favoritism at 1.90-1. But neither could cope with the heat brought by Dreamfyre.
With Hector Berrios aboard, Dreamfyre blasted to a two-length lead through an opening quarter in :21.74. Dua was being scrubbed along in second, until she was passed by Benedetta. The favorite was only a length behind Dreamfyre passing the half in :45.10, apparently poised to challenge upon straightening for home.
Then Dreamfyre found another gear. Shifting out while pulling away from Benedetta, the dark bay extended her margin to 3 1/2 lengths. Dreamfyre polished off six furlongs in 1:10.52 and increased her earnings to $165,000.
“Fast” was the mutual reaction from her connections.
“Oh, she’s fast, really fast,” Berrios said. “I looked at the video (of the Everett Nevin at Pleasanton) and I say there’s only one way to go with her – that’s go fast right out of the gate. She did everything right. She was good at the gate, good with the break, made the lead on her own. She’s very professional. When we turned for home and I smooched to her, she took right off. She’s a good one.”
“She’s fast, I knew it,” Jauregui said after his first graded stakes win. “That’s why I brought her here for the meeting. Usually I have my barn in Northern California. She’s been doing everything right, and I expected her to run a very honest race. She got a little breather about the five-sixteenths going to the quarter pole, so I knew I had a chance. She kicked right in and she ran really big.”
Benedetta, who raced greenly when altering course to the inside, crossed the wire 7 1/4 lengths clear of the retreating Dua. Motet, near the rear early after a slow start, closed for fourth and just missed third by a half-length. Ur in Trouble, Vinos Angel, and Kythira rounded out the order of finish. Feisty Mitole was scratched in favor of Sunday’s third race.
Dreamfyre was bred by John C. Oxley, who campaigned both of her parents. Sire Flameaway was a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase, but Dreamfyre’s dam, Grade 2-placed Appreciating, was herself a homebred daughter of Oxley runners Sky Mesa and Hello Barbara Sue.
Appreciating, third in the 2013 Natalma (G2) as a juvenile, is also responsible for Grade 1-placed juvenile Nasreddine, who was third in the 2020 Starlet (G1). This is the family of Grade 1-winning millionaire Celestine, by Scat Daddy, and Dreamfyre is by a Scat Daddy stallion.
Initially sold for $130,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Dreamfyre brought $140,000 as a two-year-old in training at OBS April.
Yellow Ribbon H. (G2)
Later on the card in the $251,000 Yellow Ribbon H. (G2), 2.30-1 favorite Closing Remarks got up by a neck to register her second graded win.
Trained by Carla Gaines and piloted by Umberto Rispoli, the Harris Farms homebred was well placed in a stalking third from her rail post. She was traveling sweetly in the slipstream of pacesetting Ganadora through fractions of :23.33, :47.48, and 1:11.78 on the firm turf, and just needed a seam. When the attending Awake at Midnyte crept closer in a short-lived bid, the door was ajar, and Rispoli took advantage.
Closing Remarks quickened as soon as she saw daylight and overhauled Ganadora. Spirit and Glory, who stayed on the rail, found room to attack on the inside. But Closing Remarks had her measure, negotiating 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.01.
Ganadora salvaged third, another 1 1/4 lengths adrift, and a neck up on the rallying Lucky Girl. Next came Turnerloose, Awake at Midnyte, and School Dance.
Cal-bred Closing Remarks has compiled a record of 21-5-5-4, $711,320. The winner of the 2021 California Cup Oaks, she had to wait until April 1 to break through at the graded level in the Royal Heroine (G2). The Vronsky mare boasts nine stakes placings, including the 2021 Del Mar Oaks (G1) and the past two editions of the Buena Vista (G2). She was most recently sixth in the Gamely (G1), but bounced back to her best here.
“Being on the rail obviously, basically, what you want to do is get the best out of it,” recapped Rispoli, who last rode her during her sophomore campaign. “I was trying to get her in a nice position. I knew Ganadora was going to be on the lead. The best was going to be a matter of finding a way to go at the top of the stretch. I think she (Closing Remarks) has been very alive her past couple of races. Today she improved, and can compete with those horses. A huge win for Mr. Harris. Carla gives a good prep in the morning and well done to the team.”
“Umberto is the best,” Gaines said. “If there is any space, he’s going to get through, and that’s what he did. In grass racing you always want to save ground and he’s a master at it, so I just left it up to him. She didn’t have to make up quite as much ground as in her previous races and she loves this turf course.”
Closing Remarks is out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Grove, who sports a duplication of the significant producer Thong, herself a daughter of blue hen *Rough Shod II. Orange Grove receives crosses of Thong via Nureyev (sire of Unusual Heat) and Geiger Counter (sire of her second dam).