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Summer Soiree Holds On in Del Mar Oaks

Eastern invader Summer Soiree, the 2-1 favorite under regular rider Gabriel Saez in his Del Mar debut, held on desperately in the final strides to win the featured Grade I $250,000 Del Mar Oaks for three-year-old fillies Saturday.


Summer Soiree, trained by Graham Motion, who sent out Animal Kingdom to win the Kentucky Derby last May, sprinted to the lead down the backstretch of the nine-furlong event on the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course. She opened a commanding advantage turning into the stretch but then was all-out to win by a half-length over the hard-charging Star Billing and Nereid from the barn of trainer John Shirreffs.


Star Billing, who went postward at 5-1, nosed out stablemate Nereid at the wire for second, with Cambina 1 ½ lengths farther back in fourth in the field of ten fillies. Withdrawn from the race were Sarah’s Secret, Halo Dolly and Rosehill Dew.


Summer Soiree, a daughter of War Front owned by Team Valor International, which also owns Animal Kingdom, accomplished the distance in 1:46.46, third fastest Del Mar Oaks since the race was transferred to the grass in 1965. The only faster Del Mar Oaks winners were Amorama, 1:46.26 in 2004 and Singhalese, 1:46.29 in ’05.


Summer Soiree returned $6, $4.40 and $3.60 in recording her fifth win in eleven starts and first prize increased her earnings to $371,680.


Star Billing, who was ridden by Victor Espinoza, paid $5.20 and $4.20, while Nereid returned $4.40 to show.


After 24 days of the 37-day Del Mar summer season, Joe Talamo and defending champion Joel Rosario are deadlocked atop the rider standings at 28 victories each. Talamo won the first three races Saturday, while Rosario doubled, taking the fifth and sixth races. Rosario won the sixth aboard debuting juvenile Sweet Swap, a full brother to major stakes-winner Sidney’s Candy.


Saturday’s attendance was 28,909.

 

 

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Older Comments about Summer Soiree Holds On in Del Mar Oaks...

Great race, exciting, and I was glad that Nereid and Star Billing both finished on the board. I was hoping that Nereid might win for Eric Kronfeld! He has decided to throw aside his huge superstition and attend races of at least a couple of his horses, including when Eblouissante is raced for the first time! It's why I love this sport so much! Behind every horse, there is a great story. We get our hearts broken more often than not -- so few actually win! So, we are happy when they finish near the front anyway! It was a great day today for the Fillies, I thought! Sunday, can't wait for Winter Memories! Hope she is the freak we think she is! The Lake George was just incredible, and she looks nearly that good in all her wins!

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