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Executiveprivilege Nails Beholder in Debutante

Executiveprivilege, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Rafael Bejarano, preserved her perfect record Saturday as she rallied in the stretch to nail front-running Beholder in the final stride to win the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante for two-year-old fillies.

Scoring the fourth triumph of her career, Executiveprivilege gained the nod at the wire to win by a nose in 1:23.43 for the seven furlongs. Beholder, an 8-1 longshot,  took command from the gate under Garrett Gomez, turned into the stretch with a clear advantage but was unable to hold off the winner in the last few yards.

Mechaya, 5-2 second choice in a field of eight fillies, salvaged third money, 4 ¼ lengths behind the runner-up and 2 ¼ lengths in front of Miss Empire.

Executiveprivilege, a daughter of First Samurai purchased for $650,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale of two-year-olds in training in April by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman and turned over to Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert, was winning her third stakes, first in a Grade I event, previously having taken the Landaluce at Betfair Hollywood and the Sorrento Stakes three weeks ago at Del Mar.

Executive Privilege paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10. First money of $180,000 increased her earnings to $390,000. Beholder paid $5.60 and $3.60, while Mechaya returned $2.60 to show.

Executive Privilege provided Bejarano with his 12th stakes success of the season, equaling the record of four riders, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens and Corey Nakatani. With ten stakes remaining to be run before the 2012 season ends next Wednesday, the Peruvian-born jockey would appear to be a certainty to establish a new standard for stakes success.

For Baffert, it was his seventh score in the Debutante,  his 101st stakes at Del Mar as he leads in that category and his 19th  win  this summer to move him into the top spot in the trainer standings with three days remaining.          

In the afternoon’s supporting feature, the $106,460 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes, 2-1 second choice John Scott dug deep to repulse the late challenge of 9-5 favored Kettle Corn to win by a neck in 1:36.52 for the mile on the main track.

Victor Espinoza piloted John Scott, who was scoring his fifth win in eight starts. Previously, this season the five-year-old son of Bertrando, owned by Harris Farms and trained by Carla Gaines, had been beaten a half-length by Rail Trip in the San Diego Handicap. As a two-year-old in 2009, he won the I’m Smokin Stakes at the seaside track.

Third, 1 ¼ lengths behind Kettle Corn, was Holladay Road, with Tres Borrachos fourth in the field six older horses. Spud Spivens was scratched.

John Scott returned $6, 43 and $2.20 while earning first money of $68,160.

There were no perfect tickets in Saturday’s Pick Six, so, for a record 14th time this season, there will be a carryover into the next day’s racing program. Sunday’s Pick Six will kick off with a carryover of $182,318. With an 11-race program, Sunday’s Pick Six will be conducted on the sixth through eleventh races.

Victor Espinoza enjoyed his best day of the season as he booted in four winners, Kinz Funky Monkey in the second, John Scott in the Brubaker Stakes, Pure Indy in the fifth and Press Baron in the eleventh.



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