Benoit Photo/Del Mar
Bob Baffert-trained Vale Dori
is the 7-5 favorite in a field of eight for Saturday’s $200,000 Grade II Bayakoa Handicap on the morning line of Del Mar oddsmaker Russ Hudak. The Bayakoa is a 1 1/16-mile main track test for fillies and mares.
A 4-year-old Argentine-bred owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, Vale Dori will be making her fifth U.S. start in a 10-race career begun in Argentina and continued in Dubai.
Vale Dori made her first start for Baffert in an optional claimer at Del Mar on August 3, finishing second to Bayakoa rival Gloryzapper, then won the Tranquility Lake on August 31. She was a wire-to-wire 10 ¼-length winner at Santa Anita on October 28 in her last start.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will be aboard for the first time, replacing the injured Rafael Bejarano.
The field from the rail for the Bayakoa, which goes as the sixth on a nine-race card: Moyo Honey (Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 12-1), Autumn Flower (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1), Gloryzapper (Jamie Theriot, 3-1), Barbara Beatrice (Tiago Pereira, 20-1), Vale Dori (Mike Smith, 7-5), Wild At Heart (Javier Castellano, 5-1), Show Stealer (Gary Stevens, 6-1) and Desert Madam (Tyler Baze, 12-1).
Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club