In a rematch of their first encounter, Dream Tree, the even-money favorite, again barely held off the late challenge of Midnight Bisou to win by a nose in the featured $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes Saturday at Del Mar.
Dream Tree, ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, opened a clear advantage in the stretch but then had to go all out nearing the wire to withstand the rapidly-closing Midnight Bisou, an unlucky loser for the second straight time to her rival. Dream Tree had nosed out Midnight Bisou in a maiden race in late October at Santa Anita.
Dream Tree, a $750,000 purchase by Phoenix Thoroughbred III of Amer Abdulaziz of London, England at a two-year-olds-in- training sale last March, ran the seven furlongs in 1:23.69 to earn first money of $60,000 and remain unbeaten in two starts for trainer Bob Baffert.
Midnight Bisou, sent postward a co-second choice at 2-1 with Ms Bad Behavior, had Rafael Bejarano in the saddle Saturday in a valiant effort. At the wire, the runner-up was five and one-quarter lengths clear of third-place Secret Spice, with Ms Bad Behavior fourth. Smiling Tigress completed the line-up of juvenile fillies. Scratched was Steph Being Steph.
Dream Tree, a daughter of Uncle Mo bred in Kentucky, returned $4, $2.80 and $2.40; Midnight Bisou paid $2.80 and $2.40, while Secret Spice returned $3 to show.
There were 17 perfect tickets in the Pick Six Saturday and each paid $15,184.60. 503 tickets with five winners returned $84.60. With a carryover of $59,400 from Friday, “new” money bet Saturday was $372,040 for a total pool of $431,440. The ninth race Super High Five which had a carryover of $18,164 from Friday paid $25,917.40 for each of three tickets.
The single ticket Jackpot increased to $118,097 for Sunday’s program which begins at 12:30 p.m.
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Dream Tree, winner) – “It isn’t that she pulls herself up; she just idles a little bit in that last sixteenth. She did it the other day (her first start, a victory at six furlongs Oct. 27 at Santa Anita in a straight maiden race); she did it some again today. They took the blinkers off her today to get her to relax; she was going seven eighths. But she’s talented; no doubt.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Midnight Bisou, second) – “I ran out of racetrack. If I have another jump or two, I think we win. She’s just a little green. She only had the one race (a close second in her debut to the winner at Santa Anita on Oct 27). She’s getting the experience she needs.”
COREY NAKATANI (Secret Spice, third) – “She’s quick out of there. I just let her roll. With a 2-year-old, you don’t want to discourage their natural ability. She’s got that natural speed. She ran good today.”
JIM BARNES, assistant to Bob Baffert (Dream Tree, winner) – “She seems to be improving. We’ve got to work on the thrilling finishes there (2-for-2 career with both by a nose). We’ll see how she comes out and Bob will tell us where we’re going next.”
FRACTIONS: :22.55 :45.93 1:10.57 1:23.69
The stakes win was the first of the meet for rider Van Dyke, but his second in the Desi Arnaz (Achiever’s Legacy in 2014). He now has 11 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Baffert and his first in the Desi Arnaz. He now has 124 stakes victories at Del Mar, the most by any conditioner.
The winner is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds III, the nom du course of Amer Abdulaziz of London, England.
Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club