The first three finishers of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) have passed the entry box for the Sept. 27 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I). The two-turn, $250,000 race for 2-year-old fillies at the Oak Tree meeting figures to be a key prep for next month’s Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
The Oak Leaf is one of six grade I races on the card at the Arcadia, Calif., track. And this year, it’s a whole new ballgame with the new synthetic Pro-Ride surface that made it’s afternoon debut opening day Sept. 24.
Stardom Bound has a leg up in what appears to be a pretty wide-open Oak Leaf. The daughter of Tapit came from last to win the Sept. 1 Del Mar Debutante run on Polytrack. Charles Cono’s runner won by 4 1/4 lengths under Mike Smith, getting the seven furlongs in 1:22.50.
Myung K. Cho’s Palacio de Amor set the pace in the Del Mar Debutante, carving out early fractions of :22.59 and :45.07 in a runner-up effort. Will O Way was a neck back in third.
Stardom Bound, a $375,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. select sale 2-year-old trained by Chris Paasch, won the Del Mar Debutante as a maiden, but had missed in her debut by a nose, then ran second, beaten a length, in the Sorrento Stakes (gr. III). Both starts were during the Del Mar stand. Bred in Kentucky by Fletcher Gray, Carolyn Gray, and John Youngblood, Stardom Bound is out of the Tarr Road (by Grey Dawn II) mare My White Corvette.
In the five Breeders' Cups that have been held in Southern California, two of the Juvenile Filly winners, Phone Chatter in 1993 and Halfbridled in 2003, had previously won the Oak Leaf.
Palacio de Amor broke her maiden at Del Mar Aug. 16 going 5 1/2 furlongs under Victor Espinoza. By Dixieland Band, Palacio de Amor is out of the Petionville mare Haitian Vacation and was bred in Kentucky by Everest Stables.
Will O Way, a daughter of Broken Vow , broke her maiden at first asking at Calder July 27 before shipping to California for the Del Mar Debutante. She came from mid-pack at Del Mar for her third-place finish at 28-1.
The Oak Leaf field also includes Kinesiology, a daughter of Dixie Union who broke her maiden Aug. 20 in a one-mile event over Del Mar’s turf course. Owned by Michael Shustek and W. Don Stanley and trained by Craig Dollase, Kinesiology came from a stalking trip to get up by a neck. The final quarter of that race was run in :24 flat.
Another runner of note is Montana Fields, an impressive maiden winner Aug. 3 at even-money at Del Mar before a non-threatening ninth-place finish in the Del Mar Debutante. New York-based jockey John Velazquez picks up the mount on the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained daughter of Pulpit .
Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I), Oak Tree, $250,000, 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Sept. 27, approximate post 4:00 p.m. PDT
Post – Horse – Jockey
1 – Will O Way – Joel Rosario
2 - Stardom Bound - Mike Smith
3 - Candilejas - Martin Garcia
4 - Palacio de Amor - Victor Espinoza
5 - Montana Fields - John Velazquez
6 - Magic Roberta - Corey Nakatani
7 - Empressive Lady - Tyler Baze
8 - Oro Blanco - Martin Pedroza
9 - Toro Bonito - David Flores
10 - Black Magic Mama - Garrett Gomez
11 - Kinesiology - Michael Baze
12 – Malusita - Brice Blanc