It was a little after 7 a.m. and trainer Peter Eurton confessed that
he had “just shown up” at his Barn X headquarters. A bit later than is
his habit, but with a reasonable explanation.
The celebration dinner at L’Auberge on Saturday evening after Weemissfrankie’s victory in the Grade I, $250,000 Del Mar Debutante had
around 25 people in attendance from an ownership group that includes
Sharon Alesia of La Costa, Mike Mellen, Joe Ciaglia, Rob Dyrdek and Nick
Cosato, all of Los Angeles. Eurton was among the earliest to call it a
night, at around 10. Others took cabs to downtown San Diego to continue
the celebration of the impressive, 1 ¼-length victory as the 5-2
favorite in 1:23.20 for seven furlongs.
Eurton reported that Weemissfrankie, a New York-bred daughter of
Sunriver purchased at auction in April for $175,000, appeared fine
Sunday morning and would be vanned to Santa Anita on Tuesday. There, she
will likely be pointed for the $250,000, Grade I, Oak Leaf Stakes at 1
1/16 miles on Santa Anita’s newly refurbished dirt track. The Oak Leaf
is the major West Coast prep for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Fillies on November 4 at Churchill Downs.
“It’s still a tough road to follow,” Eurton said. “The Debutante was
30 days after her first race, now it’s 30 to the Oak Leaf and then the
Breeders’ Cup a month later. We’ll have to see how she handles the Santa
Anita dirt. I could always try her on the grass as well; there’s turf
in her pedigree.”
Trainer Ben Cecil was understandably pleased with the Debutante
runner-up effort of Self Preservation in the recent import from
Ireland’s first U.S. start and first competition on Polytrack. The
Kentucky-bred daughter of Lion Heart rallied from last of 10 at the
half-mile mark at odds of 25-1 under Patrick Valenzuela.
Told that Valenzuela had hopped off and said for media consumption
“Oh, she’s a runner,” Cecil had to smile. “He hopped off and said to us
‘We’re going to win the Breeders’ Cup,’ ” Cecil said. “That’s Patrick,
he’s always enthusiastic.”
Cecil said that Self Preservation would be taken to Santa Anita and
consideration would be given to both the Oak Leaf and the Alcibiades on
October 7 at Keeneland.
Trainer Tom Proctor said Debutante third-place finisher Emerald Gold
came out of the race in good shape and, like the others, would consider
the Oak Leaf and Alcibiades for a possible next start.