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
“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
“(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