Like Noah with the ark, trainer Peter Miller is loading up by twos for the major 2-year-old stakes in the next two racing days for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
And all four of Miller’s entrants – Miss Empire and Heir Kitty in today’s $150,000 Grade II Best Pal , Speedinthruthecity and Bares Tripper in Wednesday’s $150,000, Grade III Sorrento Stakes, are of the female gender.
“My ex-filly, Serious, that (Brian Koriner) claimed for $50,000(on July 25 at Del Mar) is in there too,” Miller pointed out. “So I’ve got something to do with five of them.
Hollywood Juvenile champion Scherer Magic and Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes winner Amarish are among the competition in the Best Pal. Undefeated (2-for-2) Executiveprivilege, winner of the Landaluce at Hollywood Park, looms large in the Sorrento.
But Miller’s fillies are running with a purpose.
“They’re all doing well and I’m just trying to separate them because we’re top-heavy with fillies., which is a good problem to have.,” Miller said. “We’re just trying to divide and conquer.”
The females against males isn’t uncharted territory.
“I’ve done it quite a bit and done it with some success,” Miller said. “Speedinthruthecity beat the boys first out on the grass.
“No, I’m not afraid to run a filly against colts. Girls are more mature than boys, right? Especially early on.”
Miss Empire, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Empire Maker, won the $100,000 Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 16 as a maiden in her second career start and was third to Executiveprivilege in the Landaluce. Heir Kitty, a Florida-bred daughter of Wildcat Heir , was a four-length debut-race winner on July 8 at Hollywood Park.
Bares Tripper, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Sky Mesa, was a wire-to-wire debut winner here on July 25. Speedinthruthecity , a Kentucky-bred City Zip filly, followed up her debut victory with a runner-up in the Landaluce.
“We’re going to send Bares Tripper to the front and then try to come from off the pace with Speedinthruthecity,” Miller said of the Sorrento strategy. “Both of the fillies (in the Best Pal) will be off the pace. Miss Empire comes from way back and Heir Kitty should be sitting mid-pack – third, fourth or fifth.”
SATURDAY SCORES SIT WELL WITH ELLIS
The victory by Include Me Out in the Grade I $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch completed a consecutive-Saturdays stakes double for trainer Ron Ellis started by Rail Trip in the $200,000 San Diego Handicap on July 28.
There won’t be a three-peat. Ellis doesn’t have a nominee for next Saturday’s Grade II $150,000 La Jolla Handicap. But it’s certainly a “Mission Accomplished” time for Ellis and the Jay Em Ess Stable of Samantha Siegel, owner of both Rail Trip and Include Me Out.
The stakes victories were 16th and 17th overall for Ellis. The Hirsch was his first Grade I win here.
“It’s been great. We’ve been winning the big ones, the ones we point for,” Ellis said. “Del Mar is where I got my first win, and it’s always been a special place for me. It’s great to win a stake anywhere, but especially here.”
Ellis took out his training license in 1980 and his first winner, To B. Or Not, became a multiple-stakes winner and set him on course for a career in its 32nd year.
Ellis, back at his Hollywood Park base this morning, said reports were that Include Me Out came out of the race well. The Clement Hirsch was a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita. Include Me Out will have one prep in October at Santa Anita before going on to the Breeders’ Cup.
Ellis said Rail Trip is doing well and remains a strong possibility for the TVG Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 26.
HIRSCH SECOND, THIRD-PLACE FINISHERS EXIT RACE WELL
The second and third-place finishers in the Hirsch all were well the morning after, with their trainers pleased with the efforts but uncertain regarding next assignments.
John Shirreffs, trainer of runner-up Star Billing, said he would look into options, possibly including a race later in the Del Mar meeting. Neil Drysdale said third-place finisher Amani did well in her first start outside her native Chile and would move on to the Santa Anita meeting.
GAME ON DUDE WORKS FOR PACIFIC CLASSIC
Hollywood Gold Cup winner Game On Dude worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 Sunday morning for a possible start in the Grade I $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 26.
With part-owner and former New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball manager Joe Torre looking on, Game On Dude produced a work under jockey Rafael Bejarano that was tied for 20th among 65 works at the distance.
Among seven Baffert trainees also working 5 furlongs was San Clemente Handicap winner Eden’s Moon (1:01.80) and 2011 Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude (1:01.00).
CAPO BASTONE SHOWS FUTURITY POTENTIAL
The debut of 2-year-old colt Capo Bastone in Saturday’s seventh race didn’t go as envisioned. But the victorious result has trainer John Sadler pondering the possibility of a next start in the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Wednesday, September 5.
“Capo Bastone we’re very pleased with and we’ll obviously look at the Futurity,” Sadler said this morning.
“He’d been working well in the mornings, but what he showed in the race was even probably a little better than expectations. He got shuffled back at the start and we didn’t think he’d be that far back his first time out. We thought he’d lay maybe third or fourth.“
The Kentucky-bred son of Street Boss, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, was eighth of nine a quarter-mile into the 5 ½ furlong race then came charging through under Garrett Gomez to win by a neck.
“For him to weave his way through and look so good, it was an impressive race,” Sadler said.
CLOSERS – Del Mar-based jockey Corey Nakatani drove Macho Macho ($11.60) to an upset victory in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park on Saturday. Hansen, the 2-5 favorite ridden by Del Mar-based Mike Smith, was fourth. One race earlier on the program, Nakatani guided favored Tapizar to victory in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes while Smith completed the exacta on Headache...Ship And Win bonus-eligible horses on today’s card include: Canook (1st, Dallas Keen, trainer); Max Cooper (1st, Jerry Hollendorfer); Majestic Harbor (2nd, Sean McCarthy); Cat’sdoubledaygirl (3rd, Vann Belvoir); Dontmesroundwitjim (Justin Evans); In Plain Sight (6th, Mike Puype); In the Stars (7th, Richard Mandella) …
Trakus Facts of the Day for Saturday, August 4
While I’m Wide Awake and Distinctiv Passion set fast early fractions, the close of Capo Bastone to win the seventh race was as statistically impressive as it appeared. The debuter ran the final quarter in 23.75 seconds and the final eighth in 12.09 seconds. Respectively, each time was faster than the next-fastest in the field by 1.29 seconds and 0.75 seconds.
Include Me Out was the beneficiary of another ground-saving ride from Joe Talamo when winning the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. The daughter of Include covered 5,674 feet in running, while second place finisher Star Billing, beaten just a neck, covered 28 feet more.