Slow from the gate in the seven-furlong sprint, Stardom Bound, a non-winner in two maiden races in which she was second, looped her rivals on the stretch turn and continued on powerfully to win by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:22.50. She became only the second maiden in the history of the race to win, emulating the feat of Cindy's Hero in 2000.
Stardom Bound, a daughter of Tapit owned by C.R. Cono of La Mesa, California and trained by Christopher Paasch, was well-supported in the mutuels and returned $13, $6.80 and $5. First prize of $150,000 increased her earnings to $190,600. The gray filly was purchased for $375,000 last March at a two-year-olds-in-training sale in Ocala, Florida.
Palacio de Amor returned $47.40 and $21, while Will O Way paid $11.20 to show.
In Monday's supporting features, Halo Farms' favored Babs Moossa and Garrett Gomez won the $114,200 I'm Smokin Stakes for California-bred two-year-olds, while Brandon and Marianne Chase's Albertus Maximus, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, scored an upset in the $91,400 Windy Sands Handicap for older horses.
Babs Moossa, a son of Crowning Storm trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won by a head over Control Seeker, with Lucky Primo third. The winner ran the six furlongs in 1:10.39 and paid $7 while earning $68,520.
In the Windy Sands 'Cap at a mile on the main track, Albertus Maximus was impressive in scoring by 2 1/4 lengths in track record time of 1:35.37, returning $14.40.
Add Heat was second, with nine-year-old Perfect Drift, a two-time runner-up in the Pacific Classic, checking in third.
Albertus Maximus, a four-year-old colt by Albert the Great conditioned by Vladimir Cerin, earned $51,960.
Monday's attendance was 14,312.
MIKE SMITH (Stardom Bound) -- "She was a little bit better coming out of the gate today. A little. And I didn't mind at all sitting back there with her (he was last by 10 lengths at one point on the backstretch). With her it's like being on the lead. And with this filly the farther the better. Things come so easy to her. She was picking those horses up in the stretch without even trying. She was on her wrong lead but it didn't matter. I finally had to get after her a bit and get her to change and she did. And she opened up even more. The most amazing thing was as we were pulling up she started playing. She'd just run like that and she still wants to play. She's something. She's some filly."
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Palacio de Amor) -- "She ran great. She got a little tired at the end. I saw the winner coming, but there was nothing we could do. There's only so much you can do and she did all she could. She ran great."
JOEL ROSARIO (Will O Way) -- "I had a pretty good trip. The winner was the best horse today. I thought I might get second, but not quite. My filly ran good."
ALEX SOLIS (Evita Argentina) -- "She ran her race. It was a good trip and she ran her race."
TYLER BAZE (Empressive Lady) -- "She ran good. We had the good trip. That's it."
CHRISTOPHER PAASCH (Stardom Bound) -- "I'm very satisfied. Today, Mike was able to let her relax like she did in her first race [beaten a nose]. The last time, the ground broke out from under her, and Mike felt like he needed to rush her up a little and get her into the race, so she didn't relax as well. When he asked her to run today, he said he couldn't believe how explosive she was. We'll be looking at the Oak Leaf at Oak Tree now."
Paasch said earlier in the meet he had waited about five years to name "just the right horse" Stardom Bound. "I guess she's no long stardom bound; now she's a star."
MYUNG KWAN CHO (owner-trainer of Palacio de Amor) -- "We had no choice but to go for the lead coming out of the one hole. But Victor did everything right. He stayed on the rail and saved ground all the way around. I was very excited when they came down the stretch and I was ahead."
FRACTIONS: :22.59 :45.07 1:09.65 1:22.50
The stakes win was the fifth of the meet for Mike Smith, but his 22nd overall at Del Mar. This is the first time he's won the Del Mar Debutante. (Smith won the Del Mar Derby yesterday on Madeo.)
The stakes win was the first of the meet for Christopher Paasch and his second overall at Del Mar (he won the Best Pal with Principle Secret in 2006).
The winner is the second maiden to capture the Debutante. Cindy's Hero previously did it in 2000.
The winning owner, C.R. Cono, is from nearby La Mesa, CA.