Vasilika Favored In Yellow Ribbon, Comical Faces Five in Sorrento At Del Mar Saturday
Turf Distaffers, Juvenile Fillies In Seaside Track Spotlight Saturday
By Margaret Ransom
Multiple grade 1 winner Vasilika will carry highweight of 125 pounds and likely lower odds than her morning line of 7-5 when she heads postward and faces eight in Saturday’s $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (GIIT) at Del Mar. The 5-year-old Jerry Hollendorfer-trained daughter of Skipshot will carry jockey Julien Leparoux for the first time and swaps coasts with her regular jockey, Flavien Prat, who will be in Saratoga to ride Bellafina in the Test Stakes (GI).
Vasilika, who was haltered for a mere $40,000 18 months ago, has won 12 races for her new connections and rides a four-race win skein this year heading into this 1 1/16-mile turf feature. She won last year’s John C. Mabee (GIT) over this course and most recently claimed the Gamely Stakes (GIT) at Santa Anita last month. Overall she’s won 17 of 32 career races for earnings of $1,358,595.
Irish-bred Beau Recall, who last year called Southern California her base before being switched to the care of Brad Cox Jr., was eighth in this race a year ago and could not beat Vasilika in several meetings, but has had a much better 2019 by winning two of four starts, including the Distaff Turf Mile (GIIT) on Kentucky Derby Day. She will be closing late under 121 pounds, which includes Drayden Van Dyke.
Ken Maddy Stakes (GIIIT) winner Storm The Hill, who was fifth in this race a year ago, is seeking her first win at the distance as she seems to prefer going shorter, as well as the Santa Anita downhill turf course. She makes her second start this year off a third in the one-mile Wilshire Handicap (GIIIT) at Santa Anita last out, which should be a nice prep for this spot. Rafael Bejarano will be back aboard the Phil D’Amato-trained daughter of Get Stormy.
Multiple grade 3 winner Toinette makes her 2019 debut and her first start since capturing last fall’s Autumn Miss Stakes (GIIIT) at Santa Anita. Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale trains the Scat Daddy filly, who four of five starts in 2018. Local jockey Ruben Fuentes substitutes for the traveling Flavien Prat.
Other runners for the Yellow Ribbon include Youngest Daughter, Brice Blanc; Lemoona, Mario Gutierrez; Valedictorian, C.J. Fernandez; Causeforcommotion, Norberto Arroyo, Jr.; and Elysea’s World, Joe Talamo.
The Yellow Ribbon is the 8th on the day with a post time of 5:39 p.m. PT.
Six Set For Sorrento
The first graded stakes race for juvenile fillies in Southern California is Saturday’s $200,000 Sorrento Stakes (GIII), the traditional prep for the Del Mar Debutante (GI) at the end of the month.
Bob Baffert owns the record for victories in this race – seven – but isn’t represented by a runner this year. His winners are Soviet Sojourn (1991), Batroyale (1995), Silverbulletday (1998), Chilukki (1999), Inspiring (2004), Executiveprivilege (2012) and Pretty N Cool (2015).
Leading trainer Doug O’Neill will send out muddy Schuylerville Stakes (GIII) winner Comical for the six-furlong main track test and she will face five other fillies, four of which are winners and one who has yet to visit the winner’s circle. O’Neill has been represented by two previous winners of the Sorrento – Wickedly Perfect (2010) and Concave (2013) — and seeks a third with this undefeated daughter of Into Mischief who is back at her home base of Southern California after shipping to New York for her last. She draws the rail and carries jockey Julien Leparoux for the first time and has a nice half-mile work prep for this race.
Powerfulattraction brok her maiden at Los Alamitos under Joe Talamo and makes the logical step to here for trainer Pete Eurton. Talamo returns on this daughter of Commissioner, who has some off-the-pace talent and room to improve.
Amalfi Sunrise broke her maiden by an impressive 6 ½ lengths in June at Santa Anita and is another graduating to graded stakes company off a debut performance. She is one of two for trainer Simon Callaghan, who saddled Bellafina to win this race a year ago. Norberto Arroyo Jr. will be back aboard.
Shedaresthedevil broke her maiden inher debut by 3 ½ lengths at Churchill seven weeks ago and now races for the first time for Callahan. She is a stalker who will get the pace she likes and will have last year’s meet leader Drayden Van Dyke aboard.
Shanghai Keeley broke her maiden at Pleasanton and makes a race starter for trainer Ari Herbertson. The Shanghai Bobby filly will carry regular rider Irving Orozco, who also has limited experience at Del Mar.
Princess Mo is the lone maiden in the field and Geovani Franco rides for trainer Ruben Gomez.
Post time for the Sorrento is 4:09 p.m. PT and is Saturday’s fifth race.