Off since early May while recovering from a pulled muscle, Shining Energy returned in top form. Showing an amazing burst of speed in mid-stretch, she coasted to a surprise victory in the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Del Mar turf course Saturday.
With Rene Douglas aboard, Shining Energy ran the final quarter-mile in less than 23 seconds despite drifting in under 117 pounds to score by 1 1/4 lengths.
Sent off as the favorite in each of her four previous starts in the United States for trainer Julio Canani, Shining Energy was seventh in the Senorita (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park in her most recent effort. Canani said she came out of the race injured and, although she had worked well for her return, the daughter of Rahy
was sent off at odds of 8-1 in the one-mile event Saturday.
"This filly has a ton of ability," Canani said. "She was very good early in the year, but went sour and developed a problem that I didn't find right away. I had her scanned after she ran bad at Hollywood, and we found out she had some trouble in back, in her hocks, but nothing serious. So I worked on her in the back and in the front, and she's been doing great since then. She has been training unbelievable since then."
Breaking from the far outside, Shining Energy was held toward the rear of the 10-horse field, rallying wide with a sharp turn of foot coming down the lane. She seized the lead inside the eighth pole and was in command to finish well in front of Memorette and Royal Copenhagen, who finished in a dead heat for second. The final time was 1:34 1/5.
"I was a little concerned about the (outside) post, being that far out," said Douglas, who won his first stakes at Del Mar since 1997. "But the race went perfectly and, when I asked her, she exploded."
"Here I was, all dressed up and nowhere to go," said Kent Desormeaux, who rode the late-rallying Memorette. "I had to wait repeatedly during the running. The winner spurted away from me, and there I was waiting again. I might have been on the best horse, but you'll never know it."
Louvain, the 2-1 favorite for trainer Bobby Frankel, rallied from last under top weight of 120 pounds with a looping move on the far turn for Victor Espinoza. But she flattened out late to finish fourth, another three-quarters of a length behind.
"The pace was too slow for her," Espinoza said. "She needs more to run at. She ran a good race, but she needed some help."
She's a Jewel set the pace (:23 1/5, :48 1/5, 1:11 2/5) for Jose Valdivia Jr. before giving way to the back markers.
Shining Energy was winless in four starts at low visibility tracks in France before transferring to the U.S. for owners J. Terrance Lanni and Bernard Schiappa, who campaigned Ladies Din with Canani. Shining Energy broke her maiden and won the La Habra in her first two starts, both sprints, on the Santa Anita lawn. Stretching out in the 1 1/6-mile Providencia (gr. IIIT), she ran fifth a month prior to the Senorita.
Shining Energy earned $90,000 for her third win in nine lifetime starts in the San Clemente, the leading prep race for the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) at nine furlongs on Aug. 20. She has earned $207,842 in her career.
Norman Cheng and Tony Feng bred the winner, who was produced by the Lycius
mare Miss Universal, in Kentucky.
She paid $19, $9.40, and $7.80. Memorette returned $4 and $5.40 and completed a $99.20 exacta. Royal Copenhagen's share of the place was $5.20 and $5.40 and completed a $93.80 exacta.
After Louvain came Island Escape, She's a Jewel, Thatswhatimean, Conveyor's Angel Tivadare, and the Irish-bred Salsa Brava, the 5-2 second choice who was making her U.S. debut after being twice group II-placed in Great Britain last year. The San Clemente was her first start since Sept. 18.
Trainer Julio Canani recorded his second stakes success of the afternoon, having saddled favored Tsigane to win the $76,325 Wickerr Handicap earlier on the program. The red-hot Canani won the John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) with Amorama July 23.