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Breeders' Cup 2017

Debutante Rematch Expected in Oak Leaf

Both Darley Debutante winner Tell a Kelly and runner-up Wickedly Perfect were reported in good order this morning following the Grade I race Saturday that locked up the Del Mar juvenile filly crown for the John Sadler-trained 2-year-old.

 

The next start for both appears to be the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes Sunday, October 3 at the Oak Tree meeting at Hollywood Park. In that one, they'll stretch out to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in an effort to get ready for the Grade I, $2-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at the same distance on November 5 at Churchill Downs.

 

A speed duel between the favored Wickedly Perfect, trained by Doug O'Neill, and longshot Gone Rebel may have compromised the favorite's ability to kick on in the Del Mar stretch as Tell a Kelly went whizzing past to win by a widening 4 1/2 lengths.

 

It marked the second time in three years that a daughter of Tapit has won the Debutante. Stardom Bound turned the trick in 2008, and went on to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, becoming the third Debutante winner to capture the Juvenile Fillies since 2003. The others were Halfbridled in 2003 and Sweet Catomine in 2004.

 

Overall, the Debutante has been a good measuring stick for the B.C. Juvenile Fillies. In 1986, Debutante victress Brave Raj was the first winner coming from the Del Mar race. Debutante winners who have finished second in the Juvenile Fillies include La Spia in 1991; Sardula, who defeated Phone Chatter in the Debutante, finished second to her in the 1993 Juvenile Fillies giving the Debutante a one-two punch; Excellent Meeting in 1998, Chilukki in 1999 and Wild Fit in 2005. 

 

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