While only two of the nine
fillies and mares entered in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Molly
Pitcher are currently stabled at Monmouth Park, Red Oak Stable’s Debonair Darling will be looking to win one for the home team.
The 5-year-old mare
by Formal Dinner, who will be trying graded stakes company for the first time,
has never finished off the board in 12 career starts at the Oceanport track.
“She certainly loves
this track,” trainer Gregg Sacco said.
“She always runs her race and gives it her all every time. Unfortunately, she just has a tendency to be
second best sometimes.”
In 15 career starts,
Debonair Darling has only finished off the board twice. However, the Sacco trainee has visited the
winner’s circle only two times versus eight runner-up finishes.
“Obviously, this is
a big step up for her,” Sacco said.
“I’ll just let Elvis [jockey Trujillo]
play it off the break. She’s been on the
lead in some of her races and sometimes she sits, but we pretty much play it by
the break every time. There looks like
there’s some speed to our outside, so we’ll just try to get the best position
possible going into the first turn.”
In an attempt to
change things up a bit, Sacco sent Debonair Darling on a mile breeze on August
20 in preparation for the Hill ‘n’ Dale Molly Pitcher.
“I just wanted to
put a little bit of wind into her,” Sacco said.
“She worked a slow mile and seemed to come out of it really well.”
Darling continue her trend of finishing on the board this Saturday, she will be
rewarded with more than just a share of the $250,000 purse. This year’s 66th renewal of the
Pitcher also features a stallion season to the top three finishers. Hill ‘n’ Dale stallions Roman Ruler, Midnight
Lute and Zensational are the offerings, with the winner of the Molly Pitcher
having first choice.
Roman Ruler, the 2005 Haskell Invitational winner, stands
for $15,000. A son of Fusaichi Pegasus,
Roman Ruler, who is currently second on the third crop sires list, is the sire
of 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice.
Midnight Lute ($17,500) is a two-time winner of the
Breeders’ Cup Sprint, including the 2007 edition at Monmouth Park. His first crop of horses are currently
Zensational ($22,500) is the only horse to win three
consecutive Grade 1 sprint races. The
son of Unbridled’s Song entered stud in 2010.