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Debonair Darling Has Home Field Edge

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.”


Should Debonair 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 yearlings.


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.



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