Singhalese charged home on the grandstand side to reach the wire a half-length in front of favored Three Degrees to win the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) on the grass Saturday.
Trainer James Cassidy and jockey Mike Smith, ice cold when the meet began but heating up now, combined to get the job done with the flashy British-bred daughter of Singspiel
. She completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:46.29, two-fifths of a second off the track record and just .03 off the stakes mark set by Amorama in 2004.
"He surely has done a great job with this filly," Smith said of Cassidy. "He's pointed her for this race, and he pulled it off."
Trapped along the inside but with plenty of punch left, Smith decided to take the overland route. She lost some ground coming off the turn but was able to get her powerful kick in gear, catching the stubborn pacesetter Dancing Edie past mid-stretch. Three Degrees, the 9-5 choice with Alex Solis riding, rallied strongly in heavy traffic along the inside but came up short. Dancing Edie held on for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
"I was just fortunate to get outside at the right time," Smith said. "They were all getting bottled up there down on the inside, and I got out and got to go. She was running when it counted, and she got it done."
Cassidy said he was worried. "With everybody starting to fan out, you wonder just how wide she's going to have to go," he said. "But I'll tell you, I wouldn't want Mike Smith's job. I'd be a nervous wreck."
Singhalese, who began her career in the United Kingdom, was coming off her only lifetime win in four starts in the United States, a 2 1/4-length victory over optional allowance foes Aug. 1. Prior to that, she turned in a third-place showing at odds of 43-1 in the July 3 American Oaks (gr. IT). In that race, she finished ahead of Three Degrees, who was making her first start since the Oaks.
"In the American Oaks, she had to chase that super star from Japan (Cesario)," said Cassidy, who celebrates his 60th birthday Sunday and has now won three races from 11 starters at Del Mar after beginning the meet 1-for-53 in 2005. "I put her in the allowance race here to get her mind back in the game. She was awesome there, and I thought she would do well here today."
She earned $180,000 for owners Gould Family Trust or Dixon with her third win in nine overall starts, and doubled her bankroll to $357,647.
Singhalese was near the back of the pack early as Dancing Edie, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, dashed to the front and opened up on Berbatim by three lengths. Lasika and Louvain were also forwardly placed.
San Clemente Handicap (gr. II) winner Shining Energy went for an early move on the turn for Rene Douglas but, after getting into third on the outside, she did not fight on as Singhalese and Three Degrees rallied.
Dancing Edie, a maiden winner in her last start Aug. 3 who drew into the field, posted splits of :22.90, :46.96, 1:11.01 and 1:34.64.
Singhalese, who was following Three Degrees along the inside, switched to the grandstand side. It turned out to be the winning move as Three Degrees was forced to wait for room on the inside coming into the straight and then again while moving up on Dancing Edie before she got clear along the rail inside the eighth pole.
"I was stuck down on the inside, and I couldn't get out," Solis said. "By the time I finally got out, we were at the eighth pole. I got through there, but too late."
The second choice in the field of nine paid $9.40, $4.40, and $3.40. Three Degrees returned $3.60 and $3. Dancing Edie's show was $6.80.
"She hung in there," Desormeaux said of the third-place finisher. "She was a little aggressive along the way, but she'll be a force to be reckoned with when she matures."
Berbatim finished fourth, followed by Rich in Spirit, Louvain, Peaceful Love, Lasika, and Shining Energy.
Isla Cozzene and Mi Luna Nueva scratched.