Stardom Bound Rises to Debutante Victory
Mike Smith, who won the Del Mar Derby (gr. II) the preceding day with Madeo, guided the gray Tapit filly seven wide round the turn in the seven-furlong Debutante. She whooshed down the lane past her remaining foes so quickly they looked like they were practically standing still as she recorded a lopsided victory.
She completed the distance in 1:22.50, an outstanding time for the Polytrack. Palacio de Amor, a 47-1 shot who ran the contenders in the 12-horse field ragged through some quick fractions under Victor Espinoza, held on for second by a neck with Will O Way nosing Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) winner Evita Argentina for third.
Christopher Paasch trains Stardom Bound, a $375,000 Ocala Breeders Sales Company buy in March, for owner Charles Cono.
Paasch said Stardom Bound would next go in the Oak Leaf (gr. I) at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Sept. 27. "I'm very satisfied," he said.
Stardom Bound has had three starts and is yet to get out the starting gate efficiently yet. In the Debutante, she broke outward a bit and quickly fell behind the field as Palacio de Amor broke sharply from her rail post and took soon control of the pace over Glitter City and a couple of others. Fractions were :22.59 for the opening quarter-mile and :45.07 for the half as Palacio de Amor clung to a two-length lead.
On the turn for home, favored Empressive Lady edged up on the outside to challenge for the lead while at the back, Stardom Bound began to mount a bid from nearly 12 lengths off the pace. At that point, she had just one beaten, Turtle Creek Babe, who would pull up, and even after getting around the turn she had plenty of work to do after giving away so much ground.
But Stardom Bound was undeterred. She powered home from there under left-handed urging, blowing past Evita Argentina, who appeared to be rallying decently herself on the outside, then swept past Glitter City, Empressive Lady, Will O Way, Candilejas and Palacio de Amor with impressive ease.
"She was a little bit better coming out of the gate today," Smith said after his first Del Mar Debutante win. "A little. And I didn't mind at all sitting back there with her. With her it's like being on the lead. And with this filly the farther the better. Things come so easy to her. She was picking those horses up in the stretch without even trying. She was on her wrong lead but it didn't matter. I finally had to get after her a bit and get her to change and she did. And she opened up even more.
"The most amazing thing was as we were pulling up she started playing. She'd just run like that and she still wants to play. She's something. She's some filly."
Second in both of her prior starts, Stardom Bound was coming out of the 6 1/2-furlong Sorrento Aug. 6, in which she was favored. But after a slow start, her late bid came up a length short of catching Evita Argentina, who got a better jump that day. Stardom was nosed in her debut against maidens by Turtle Creek Babe at Del Mar July 20 after breaking in the air and tailing in the 5 1/2-furlong dash.
The $150,000 winner's share increased her earnings to $190,600. Stardom Bound became the second maiden to win the Del Mar Debutante, joining 2000 winner Cindy's Hero.
Bred in Kentucky by Fletcher Gray, Carolyn Gray and John Youngblood, Stardom Bound is out of My White Corvette, by Tarr Road.
Paasch said earlier in the meet he had waited about five years to name "just the right horse" Stardom Bound.
"I guess she's no long stardom bound; now she's a star," he said after the Debutante win.
She paid $13, $6.80 and $5, topping an amazing $2 exacta worth $588.60 with the maiden winner Palacio de Amor, who returned $47.40 and $21.
"I saw the winner coming, but there was nothing we could do," Espinoza said of the runner-up. "There's only so much you can do and she did all she could. She ran great."
Will O Way, a half-sister to the multiple graded winner Will O Wisp who won her debut over maidens at Calder Race Course July 27, was $11.20 to show.
Evita Argentina was followed by Empressive Lady, Candilejas, Saucey Evening, Glitter City, Montana Fields, Emmy Darling and Trifecta King. Turtle Creek Babe was pulled up after a half-mile and taken off the course by van.
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