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Breeders Cup 2015

Sorrento 1-2 Aim for Debutante Success

Historically, success in the Sorrento Stakes hasn’t carried over very well to the Del Mar Debutante. The Sorrento-Debutante double has been done only three times in the past 13 years – by Chilukki in 1999, Mi Sueno in 2009 and Executiveprivilege in 2012.

Concave, a half-length winner over She’s A Tiger in the Grade II, $150,000 Sorrento on August 7, has the opportunity to accomplish the feat when she faces seven rivals in Saturday’s 63rd running of the Grade I $300,000, seven-furlong run on the main track. And ever-optimistic trainer Doug O’Neill has reason to believe it will happen.

“She’s doing great, we’re excited,” O’Neill said Friday morning. “She’s 2-for-2 and just getting better and better.”

A daughter of Colonel John purchased for $160,000 at the Ocala sale in March in Florida, Concave won her racing debut by 3 ½ lengths going five furlongs on July 12 at Hollywood Park and followed that with the Sorrento victory at 6 ½ furlongs.

 Mario Gutierrez, aboard Concave for both starts, will ride Sprouts in the Debutante with Patrick Valenzuela taking over on Concave. Concave and Sprouts, trained by Edward Freeman, are both owned by J. Paul Reddam and were supplements to the Debutante for $10,000 each.

“It’s about Team Reddam,” O’Neill said. “We couldn’t figure out a way for Mario to ride both. Patrick is subbing for Mario but win, lose or draw, it’s Mario’s mount. Mario will ride Concave back. Patrick knows that and he loves the opportunity.”

 O’Neill does not have a Debutante victory on his list of 20 stakes victories at Del Mar since 2002.

“I haven’t been really blessed in the 2-year-old filly category, but this is a strong year,” O’Neill said. “We’ve got some good ones and Concave is leading the way at this point.”

The Sorrento loss was the first in three starts for She’s a Tiger, a sister to standout sprinter Smiling Tiger trained by Jeff Bonde.

“There’s some better horses in there,” Bonde said of the Debutante. “Concave is one of many in there that have been recently successful. Our filly, we’re adding blinkers and she’s doing well.” She’s a Tiger worked six furlongs on August 23 in 1:12.00, best of 12 at the distance that day.

“(In the Sorrento) she got some experience stalking rather than bouncing out to the lead and we think she got something out of that,” Bonde said. “She’s a big, good looking filly and we’re hoping she can climb the mountain.”

Concave is the 7-2 second choice, behind 5-2 Awesome Baby, on oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s morning line. She’s a Tiger, who will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, is the 4-1 third choice.



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