By Del Mar Press Staff — Going to Vegas is back to defend her crown, but it’s her stablemate, Going Global, that’s expected to go off the favorite in the 65th running of the G2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar Saturday.
Going to Vegas came to trainer Philip D’Amato in the spring after a successful 2021 campaign under trainer Richard Baltas.
“Her goal has been for this race,” D’Amato says, “to have a nice two-race sequence with her, the Mabee and then the Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita.”
Going to Vegas won four of her seven starts last year including a stretch of three wins in a row that started with an allowance race at Del Mar, followed by her win in the Mabee, followed by another huge win in the G1 Rodeo Drive. That got her into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar, though she finished 11th of 12 horses.
The daughter of Goldencents returned in 2022 sharp as ever, tallying three straight runner-up finishes, all in graded stakes. There was the second to now stablemate Leggs Galore in her 5-year-old debut, the G2 Buena Vista at Santa Anita. She then ran second to Queen Goddess in the G3 Santa Ana in March and was runner-up to Ocean Road in the G1 Gamely in May. It was in that race she beat Going Global, who finished third.
“She’s freshened up,” D’Amato says. “She’s raring to go. “
Going to Vegas doesn’t have to look far to find her chief competition. Just a glance down the shedrow and she’ll see Going Global, who bounced back to win the G2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar last month.
“She’s doing great,” D’Amato says. “She came out of her race in really good shape. Distance should be right up her alley and Umberto (Rispoli) has the ride back.”
Going Global won the G2 Royal Heroine at Santa Anita in her 2022 debut in April. This after a highly successful 2021 in which she won six of her eight starts. A first- or second-place finish in the Mabee would boost her career earnings over the $1 million mark.
A field of seven is entered for the 1 1/8 mile turf test. Avenue de France, from the Leonard Powell barn, will make her third start at the summer meet. She finished second to Going Global last out in the Yellow Ribbon after winning the $100,000 Osunitas Stakes on opening weekend. She’s finished first or second in her last four starts.
Park Avenue will look to get back on track after running last in the Yellow Ribbon. The daughter of Quality Road, from the John Sadler barn, has finished off the board in all three of her starts in Grade 2 stakes this year, but in her other three races in 2022 she won twice and finished second to As Time Goes By in the G3 La Canada at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day.
Bellamore and Eddie’s New Dream are both running for the third time at Del Mar this summer. Bellamore won an allowance race on opening day and then ran third in the $100,000 CTT & TOC Stakes last month. The daughter of Empire Maker is trained by Simon Callaghan.
Eddie’s New Dream got run down by Bellamore in the second-level allowance on opening day and then just missed in another runner-up finish, this time to Warrens Candy Girl, in the $150,000 Solana Beach on August 21.
The G2 John C. Mabee is named after the popular owner and breeder who, along with his wife Betty, founded Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona and bred Best Pal, the winner of the first Pacific Classic in 1991. John Mabee was also one of the original founders of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys and odds: Going to Vegas (Flavien Prat, 5/2); Bellamore (Joe Bravo, 20-1); Avenue de France (Juan Hernandez, 6-1); Park Avenue (Hector Berrios, 6-1); Going Global (4/5); Burgoo Alley (Ramon Vazquez, 12-1), and Eddie’s New Dream (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1).
O’NEILL DOUBLES-UP IN TVG DEL MAR DEBUTANTE
Trainer Doug O’Neill hopes to deprive Bob Baffert of his fourth consecutive G1 TVG Del Mar Debutante. Nothing personal, you know. It’s just that he has a pair of talented 2-year-old fillies that have shown they have what it takes to win a prestigious race like the one on Saturday.
A field of eight is expected for the 72nd running of the Debutante. O’ Neill has two of them, Vegas Magic and Satin Doll. The former is coming to the party off of her impressive victory in the G2 Sorrento last month.
“She came out of her last in great shape,” O’Neill says. “She’s training well and we’re excited about her chances. She seems like a better version of herself every day.”
Vegas Magic, a daughter of Good Magic, is undefeated after three starts, including a victory in the $75,000 Everitt Nevin up at Pleasanton in July which followed her maiden win at Santa Anita in June.
“The water definitely gets a little deeper in a race like this but we’re optimistic she’s got a big chance to improve and get it done,” O’Neill said.
His other entry is Satin Doll, who finished fourth to Vegas Magic in the Sorrento last out. He’s confident of an improved effort this time around.
“We’re hoping to get her back to her maiden win,” O’Neill says. “It was on this track, she has Kyle Frey back on her and she’s training well. She’s going to have to step up her game from the last race but we’re optimistic she will.”
Trainer Bob Baffert matches O’Neill’s pair of aces with a two gems of his own in the Debutante. Home Cooking won by nine lengths to break her maiden at Del Mar last out and Baffert is hoping for something similar on Saturday.
“She sat off the pace and they went really fast early,” Baffert says, “and that had a lot to do with it. A lot of horses look better when there’s a speed duel and you can sit off of it. She can go to the lead, but she can sit off, too. And going 7/8’s, if you go too fast, you break :22, you’re not going to get there.”
The other Baffert horse is Fast and Shiny, a first-out winner by Bernardini.
“The distance should help her,” Baffert says. “She’ll be coming from off the pace. We just got to get the trip; it’s all about the trip and how you break and all. I think the race is wide open, there are some nice horses in there.”
The Debutante is run at seven furlongs, the farthest any of the eight fillies have run so far in their young careers. All have broken their maidens with the exception of Kissed by Fire, who ran second to Justique in her debut at Del Mar in July and Ice Dancing from the Richard Mandella barn. She ran third in her debut behind And Tell Me Nolies, who is also running in the Debutante.
The TVG Debutante goes off as the eighth race on the 11-race Saturday program.
Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys and morning line odds: Vegas Magic (Abel Cedillo, 3-1); Kissed By Fire (Joe Bravo, 8-1); And Tell Me Nolies (Ramon Vazquez, 3-1); Satin Doll (20-1); Fast and Shiny (Juan Hernandez, 8-1); Home Cooking (Mike Smith, 9/5); Arella Star (Hector Berrios, 15-1), and Ice Dancing (Flavien Prat, 8-1).
$100,000 JUVENILE FILLIES TURF KICKS OFF STAKES ACTION ON SATURDAY
All eyes will be looking to the heavens Saturday in hopes the skies will clear and racing can return to the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. Especially those connections with horses entered in the $100,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar.
A field of 11 2-year-old fillies is entered in hopes the race remains on the turf. Phil D’Amato has a trio of fillies ready to go, led by Comanche Country, who won her U.S. debut at Del Mar in July.
“She’s doing well,” D’Amato says. “She’s been maintaining, pointing to this race.”
Comanche Country will vie for favoritism in the race with Havana Angel, a European import from the Leonard Powell barn. D’Amato has a couple of his own Euros making their U.S. debuts in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Thebestisyettobe and Excelia.
“Both have been here for a couple weeks,” D’Amato says, “acclimating and breezing a few times so I look forward to seeing what they can do.”
Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys and morning line odds: Cahuilla (Ryan Curatolo, 20-1); Sally’s Sassy (Ricardo Gonzalez, 12-1); Candy Caramel (Hector Berrios, 12-1); Excelia (Ramon Vazquez, 8-1); Thebestisyettobe (Flavien Prat, 4-1); Havana Angel (Juan Hernandez, 5/2); Comanche Country (Umberto Rispoli, 3-1); Queenzy (Mike Smith, 8-1); Sell the Dream (Abel Cedillo, 6-1); Court Snort (Mario Gutierrez, 20-1), and Pride of the Nile (Kyle Frey, 20-1).
NEW BOOK EXPLORES THE LIFE OF CHAMPION LANDALUCE
The new book Landaluce: The Story of Seattle Slew’s First Champion is now available. It’s written by Mary Perdue and tells the story of the talented filly who Laffit Pincay called the best 2-year-old he ever rode.
The book dives into the back stories surrounding the brief five-race career of the Eclipse Award winner, which included her six-length victory in the 1982 Del Mar Debutante. It also explores the early stud career of Seattle Slew and the early years of her trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ storied career.
TVG/FanDuel will air an interview with Perdue Friday. The book is available at www.LandaluceBook.com
COOLING OUT: The arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Kay prompted the closing and sealing of the main track Friday morning, effectively putting a stop to training. While some high winds whipped through Del Mar throughout the early morning hours, the rain didn’t arrive until about 8:30 a.m…All races are off the turf Friday, the first time that has happened at this summer’s meet. The four races moved to the dirt will remain at the same distances including one at 1 1/8 mile, the first race at that distance on the dirt this season…Notable works for Friday: Dirt – Private Mission (5f, 1:02.20); Adare Manor (7f, 1:24.20), and Taiba (7f, 1:24.40). A total of 48 horses managed to get in works on Friday before the track was closed to training.
(Current Through Monday, September 5, 2022 Inclusive)
Winning favorites — 98 out of 264 — 37.12%
Winning favorites on dirt — 58 out of 149 — 38.93%
Winning favorites on turf — 40 out of 115 — 34.78%
Winning odds-on favorites — 20 out of 41 — 48.78%
In-the-Money favorites — 194 out of 264 — 73.48%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites — 36 out of 41 — 87.80%