Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sorrento Stakes (G-3)

clip_image002[9]The Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes for two year old fillies has been held at Del Mar racetrack for over fifty years. Many of the winners and runners-up have used the race as a stepping stone to Championships. The names of Brave Raj, Phone Chatter, Silverbulletday, and Tempura have added their names to the honor role of winners. Not all subsequent champions who were entered in the Sorrento Stakes won the race. Eliza and Stardom Bound finished and the great Serena’s Song was third in the Sorrento second before clinching division honors.
This season’s renewal of the Sorrento Stakes appears to be a quality field. Three stakes winners, including the undefeated Final Mesa, will square off against stakes placed runners and recent successful debut winners.

A Z Warrior is a daughter of freshman sire Bernardini out of Carson Jen (by Carson City). Bernardini was lightly raced, but his spectacular performances earned him the Eclipse Award as Champion Three Year Old. A Z Warrior’s half brother EZ Warrior is a multiple stakes winner, including the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (G-3) and her half sister JZ Warrior is also a multiple stakes winner. Their dam Carson Jen was stakes placed. A Z won her debut in a professional manner. She dueled on the rail the whole way and drew off to win by 1 ½ lengths. The dark bay filly represents the high-percentage winning team of trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia.

Congrats is the other freshmen sire represented in the Sorrento Stakes. The full brother to Flatter is off to an excellent start at stud. His daughter Wickedly Perfect, out of Wickedly Wise, by Tactical Cat, won her five furlong debut by an impressive 4 ½ lengths over the Hollywood Cushion Track last month. Her dam is a half sister to a stakes winner and stakes placed runner. Wickedly Perfect shows two strong six furlong breezes and the pretty gray filly represents the O’Neil barn.

She'll Heir, a daughter of last year’s leading Freshmen Sire, Wildcat Heir came from off the pace to post a one length victory in the Cinderella Stakes. All of her siblings are winners and her damsire Favorite Trick, was the Champion Juvenile of 1997. She’ll Heir’s second dam was a stakes winning sprinter. She'll Heir won the Cinderella Stakes but finished fourth, three lengths behind Dawnie Macho in the Landaluce Stakes last time out. She’ll Heir posted two very strong works after the Landaluce, indicating that she may move forward. The Cerin barn has an eye catching 22% win rate with horses making their third start off of a layoff. Recently re-instated Patrick Valenzuela picks up the mount and the Hall of Famer is always dangerous.

Izshelegal (Macho Uno – Unkatzable, by A.P. Indy) started her career facing winners in the Landaluce. The daughter of two year old champ Macho Uno was a fast closing second, only ¾ a length behind Dawnie Macho. Izshelegal’s distaff family is a long list of whose who and includes multiple graded stakes winners Katz Me if You Can and Cuddles as her first and second dams. Northern Afleet and the classy Tap to Music are also part of this family. Izshelegal should appreciate the extra distance of the Sorrento Stakes.

Belleofthebridle (Yes It’s True – Unbridled Appeal, by Unbridled) was a distant second in the Willard Proctor behind eventual Hollywood Juvenile Championship victor J P’s Gusto and bore out in the stretch of the Landaluce but still finished third. The daughter of Yes It’s True recorded two strong works for the Sorrento. Belleofthebridle’s dam is a half sister to Grade 3 stakes winner Turkappeal and is also a half sister to the dam of the precocious Grade 1 winner Mani Bhavan.

clip_image002[5]Final Mesa (Sky Mesa – Final Style, by Smart Style) is the most impressive filly in the race. She’s undefeated, and has vanquished her competition by a combined 21 lengths while claiming two stakes wins. The speedy miss is a half sister to the stakes sprinter Uncle Cammie. Her first two dams are unaccomplished, however her third dam is The Bride, a full sister to Secretariat and her fourth dam is the blue hen Somethingroyal. Final Mesa goes out for the dangerous Wesley Ward barn.
Dawnie Macho (Macho Uno – Blush of Dawn, by Montbrook) held on by 2/3 a length to earn a win in the Landaluce Stakes. Dawnie Macho’s clip_image002[11]immediate distaff family is modest but durable. She had every right to regress in that race after traveling to a new barn, and attempting a new surface and distance in less than a month off of a recording a track record in her debut at Arlington.
How the track is playing: 31% of the races this meet have been won wire to wire, however, half of the races have been won by stalkers.
She’ll Heir and Izshelegal are stalkers who can benefit from a fast pace up front. With four confirmed front runners, they should be assured a swift pace. Wickedly Perfect has shown that she can sit off the pace and win. The fastest fillies on paper are Final Mesa and Dawnie Macho. The former will attempt to stretch her speed an extra furlong while Dawnie Macho was all out to hold off Izshelegal at six furlongs. A Z Warrior has a classy family and while her winning time was the slowest of this group, her connections and pedigree should be respected. Belleofthebridle’s speed figures and race placements are decreasing.
Final Mesa
Wickedly Perfect
She'll Heir – longshot selection