Twice in the last six years, either foreign or out-of-state
3-year-old fillies have shipped in and gone away with victory in the
Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks.
Which may, in part, explain why four of the 10 scheduled starters in Saturday’s 57th
running of the event fit that profile. Discreet Marq, Kitten’s
Dumplings, Pearlside and Ighraa will be making their Southern California
racing debuts. And Emotional Kitten is fresh from coming up a
half-length short of pulling off a ship-and-win strategy in the American
Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 13.
Kitten’s Dumplings, trained by Michael Maker, travelled from
Churchill Downs on Tuesday accompanied by groom Jose Luis Alvarez. Like
Emotional Kitten, who is trained by Wesley Ward, Kitten’s Dumpling is a
daughter of Kitten’s Joy owned and bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Kitten’s Dumplings won the Grade III Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs
in June and the Grade II Lake George at Saratoga on July 24. The latter
victory prompted the decision to head West for the Oaks where shippers
like Summer Soiree (2011), and Rutherienne (2007) have found success.
“She made the trip in good order and has been training super here,”
Alvarez said through an interpreter. Ridden by Joel Rosario in her last
three starts, Kitten’s Dumplings will have the services of Hall of Fame
rider Mike Smith on Saturday.
Reneesgotzip, Unusual Hottie Favored In Sunday Stakes
Peter Miller-trained Reneesgotzip, an allowance winner in sizzling
time here on July 18, is the 4-5 morning line favorite facing four
rivals in the $150,000, Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap and Unusual
Hottie the 2-1 choice of seven in the $150,000 Solana Beach Handicap,
Sunday’s featured stakes events.
Both Reneesgotzip, a 4-year-old daughter of City Zip, and Unusual
Hottie, a 4-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat, will break from the No. 1
The field for the 6 ½ furlong Rancho Bernardo, which goes as the
fourth race: Reneesgotzip (4-5, Garrett Gomez), 2012 winner Winding Way
(5-1, Rafael Bejarano), 2012 runner-up Sugarinthemorning (5-1, Gary
Stevens), Curvy Cat (8-1, Corey Nakatani), and Sweet Marini (3-1, Martin
The field for the one-mile on turf Solana Beach, which goes as the eighth race:
Unusual Hottie (2-1, Joe Talamo), Halo Dolly (5-2, Rafael Bejarano),
Oiaona (12-1, Garrett Gomez), Heat Trap (4-1, Victor Espinoza), Bella
Viaggia (4-1, Gary Stevens), Spring Bloom (8-1, Corey Nakatani) and
Warren’s Flasher (12-1, Julien Leparoux).
Friday Seven-Race Cards For Balance Of Meet
Today’s seven-race card will be the first of three shortened programs
that the track will offer for the balance of the 2013 season. It will
be the third year in a row the track has worked on such a schedule.
The primary reason for the abbreviated cards – seven races instead of
the usual eight – is because of the earlier sunsets later in the summer
and the track’s desire to hold on to its “Four O’Clock Friday” brand.
Every Friday throughout its meet Del Mar features a later first post –
4 p.m. instead of the usual 2 p.m. – with racing until sunset
immediately followed by a concert featuring a notable rock band oriented
toward its 20- and 30-year-old fans. Its “Four O’Clock Friday” formula –
fully in place since 1995 -- has proven both highly popular and highly
successful, drawing thousands of new fans with a musical inclination to
take in racing, many for the first time.
Prior to 2011, the track shifted its final three programs of the
summer to a 3:30 p.m. start, thus allowing eight races to be run before
sunset. But the earlier start proved counterproductive on both the
wagering side and for “branding” purposes, so the decision was made to
stay with 4 p.m. starts by presenting seven-race cards.
Sunset in Del Mar at the start of its meet – the first Friday was
July 19 – was 7:56 p.m. The final three Friday sunsets of the session
are today at 7:32 p.m., August 23 at 7:24 p.m. and August 30 at 7:15
Today’s seven-race program means that the track’s large Pick Six
carryover ($110,122) will be presented on races 2 through 7 instead of
the normal weekday routine of races 3 through 8.