A Pair of Maidens In With Significant Chance in Sunday's Sorrento at Del Mar

Profile Picture: Scott Shapiro

August 3rd, 2018

The second of two graded stakes events on tap for Sunday’s card at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes for two-year-old fillies.

The 2018 rendition is a challenging one for handicappers as 7 of the 10 fillies entered come in with just one start under their belt. While most horseplayers will lean on horses that won their first race, do not be too quick to eliminate a pair of Kentucky breds that come into the Sorrento as maidens.

#3 Bellafina was bet like she could not lose in her debut at Los Alamitos on the Fourth of July for trainer Simon Callaghan. The $800,000 FTF March 2018 purchase for Kaleem Shah broke from the rail in that initial try and ran well, but the more experienced Katieleigh from the Luis Mendez barn got the jump on the pricey daughter of Quality Road and had enough late to hang on. Callaghan adds blinkers on Sunday and gets his trainee off the rail. She is a major player despite not getting to the wire first on first asking.

#10 Del Mar May also comes in off a runner-up effort on debut. The daughter of Jimmy Creed did not take the support that Bellafina did in her initial try, but that in large part was due to her facing a much more talented group that included the highly regarded OXO Equine filly Brill. The $55,000 Keeneland September 2017 purchase did get a great outside stalking trip that day and was unable to compete with Brill in the lane, but remember the barn rarely has their runners cranked for their best in their first start. I expect her to move forward considerably as she takes on victors despite not visiting the winners’ circle as of yet.

In addition to the two maidens entered in the , the field also drew a number of fillies that sped to the lead and never looked back on debut. #1 Madison’s Quarters, #2 Dragic and #6 Summerland all ship in from out of town after showing serious talent elsewhere. Of the three, Summerland is the one that intrigues me most. The homebred has faced considerably weaker competition in both starts at Hastings, but she has been visually impressive nonetheless for trainer Philip Hall. If jockey Tyler Baze can avoid a cutthroat battle in the early going this daughter of He’s Tops is capable of making it a perfect 3 for 3 to start her career.

Trainer Phil D’Amato won this race in 2017 with Spectator and he sends out #4 Lady Lucy this year. The daughter of Into Mischief raced twice at Churchill Downs for trainer William Connelly, including a wire to wire win on June 15th. She has worked over this racetrack twice since changing barns, including a five-furlong drill in 1.00.3. She is another that will need to avoid a tussle on the front end to be at her best.

#5 Dichotomy took advantage of a perfect trip on Opening Day for Reddam Racing and Doug O’Neill, but I like the way she finished in that five-furlong affair. The waters get deeper on Sunday, but if they go fast early she is one that should benefit.

The same can be said for #7 Stirred and #8 Reflect. Both took advantage of nice trips from off the pace to win in their debut at Santa Anita in June. Visually they did not overly impress me, but they both showed ability on first asking for barns that are patient with their stock. They should be running on late, but passing the entire field seems unlikely.

#9 Boujie Girl beat maiden claimers on July 26th for trainer Peter Miller. This is a huge step up, but this barn is hitting at a high clip as usual at the Del Mar summer meeting. I still think she is overmatched in this group.

I will lean on Bellafina in this spot as I expect her to get a great trip under jockey Flavien Prat. Hopefully she will not get over bet again.

Suggested Wagers:

$20 Win 3

$1 Trifecta Wheel

3 with 4+6+10 with 1+4+5+6+7+8+10 = $18

Total Budget = $38