Team Valor, which privately purchased a 50% interest in Tasha's Miracle after the 2-year-old filly's smart maiden score at Hollywood Park, got an immediate return on its investment when the daughter of Harlan's Holiday overwhelmed the field in the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Del Mar Aug. 8.
Taking advantage of the extreme outside draw in the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack test, the John Sadler trainee broke with the leaders, then settled in just off an honest pace while racing well off the rail for jockey David Flores. Under steady encouragement, she swept past pacesetting Elise Joe and even-money choice One Hot Wish while three wide on the turn for home and continued to draw away from her rivals. She registered a convincing 3 1/4-length victory while ridden out as much the best in a final time of 1:19 2/5.
Tasha's Miracle becomes a major contender for the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) over seven furlongs at the end of the meet Sept. 3.
Flores, who twisted a knee after a fall at Del Mar Aug. 6, said he had confidence in Tasha's Miracle coming into the race after working her in the morning.
"She was a little aggressive coming away from there, but she settled down," Flores said. "Then she just got into a good cruise. I liked my position all the way and she ran her race. She’s a nice one.”
Set Play had to settle for second for trainer Peter Miller and jockey Michael Baze, Del Mar's leaders in their respective divisions, one length ahead of Foxy Danseur and Alex Solis. One Hot Wish faded off the board after leading the opening quarter-mile in a quick :22 3/5, finishing seventh under Joe Talamo. Elsie Joe held the lead at the half-mile split of :46 2/5.
Sent off as the second choice, Tasha's Miracle paid $6.40, $3.60 and $2.60. Set Play returned $6.40 and $4, rounding out a $32.40 exacta. Foxy Danseur was $2.80 to show.
Sadler put three solid Polytrack drills into Tasha's Miracle since her stylish win on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track July 1 for Syd Belzberg's Budget Stable.
"We were surprised she didn’t win the first time out, but she came right back and showed us what she could do in her second time out," Sadler said. "We’ve always felt she would be better at a longer distance, so I’m happy to see her win at 6 1/2 and I’ll be happier to see her at 7 furlongs. Being by Harlan’s Holiday, she should be good at a distance.
"I asked David to work her three times on this track and he came out religiously and did that. He felt she was handling the track really well, so we went into (the Sorrento) pretty confidently. She’s nominated to the Del Mar Debutante, and that’s where we’re going.”
Tasha's Miracle, a bay filly bred in Florida by Martin Stables Inc., is out of Ms. Cuvee Napa, by Relaunch. She earned $90,000 for the victory.
American County finished a distant fourth, followed by Elsie Jo, Princess Susan M, One Hot Wish and Another Aleyna.
One Hot Wish was favored off her only start, winning a maiden race over 4 1/2 furlongs in a world record :48.87 at Keeneland in April.
“She didn’t run her race," Talamo said. "Just one of those days. You can’t always explain it.”
Carbella, expected to take quite a bit of action after two stakes wins on the Northern California fair circuit this summer, was scratched. -- Jack Shinar