Always tough Wasted Tears returns to Southern California to defend her title in the $250,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) against a competitive field on the Del Mar turf Aug. 14.
Coming a day after the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) is contested at Arlington Park, the Mabee nevertheless attracted a strong field of eight. In addition to the Texas-based Wasted Tears, the 1 1/8-mile test of older fillies and mares includes several others that will attract much support. Among them are Celtic Princess and Harmonious, the first two finishers in last month's Royal Heroine Mile (gr. IT), and multiple graded winners Malibu Pier and Cozi Rosie.
The Mabee is the ninth of 10 races on the Del Mar program with a 6 p.m. PDT expected start.
Wasted Tears was able to dictate a sensible pace in last year's Mabee and dug down deep in the final strides to pull out a nose victory over Lilly Fa Pootz, who does return this year. The nine furlongs was the longest distance the victorious 6-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Najran had tried to that point in her career and culminated Wasted Tear's 10-race winning streak on grass.
Bart Evans bred, owns, and trains Wasted Tears, whose last foray into Southern California resulted in a runner-up finish in Hollywood Park's Matriarch (gr. IT) last November.
Wasted Tears, who appreciates firm going, has raced twice since the Matriarch. She returned from a layoff to win the Ouija Board Stakes (gr. IIIT) by five lengths at Lone Star Park May 30, her third win in the race. She was then fifth after setting the pace and yielding late in the 1 3/16-mile Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington July 9.
David Flores picks up the mount on Wasted Tears, a 12-time winner in 20 starts with earnings of $893,963 to lead the Mabee field. They'll break from post 3 with 119 pounds.
Wasted Tears may not have an easy time on the front end this year due to the presence of Celtic Princess, who overcame an awkward start to draw off for a game 2 1/4-length win in the Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park July 4. The 7-year-old Brazilian-bred mare nearly stole Hollywood's Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) five weeks earlier before losing by a head to Dubawi Heights in a terrific stretch battle.
A.C. Avila trains Celtic Princess, who breaks from post 7 with Rafael Bejarano aboard, for Coudelaria Jessica.
Avila also sends out Go Forth North, winner of Oak Tree's Harold C. Ramser Stakes (gr. IIIT) last fall but out of action since finishing third in the Robert J. Frankel (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Jan. 1. Go Forth North won two of three starts on the Del Mar turf course last year, including a minor stakes triumph, and had one second.
Pam and Martin Wygod's homebred Harmonious ran out of real estate in the Royal Heroine while rallying and should appreciate the extra furlong. Trained by John Shirreffs and ridden once more by Joel Rosario, Harmonious won both the American Oaks (gr. IT) and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) as a 3-year-old last year. Thus far in 2011, the Dynaformer filly has two seconds and a third in three starts, all in grade II company. In her only prior try on the Del Mar grass, she finished second to Evening Jewel in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) last season.
Cozi Rosie, a homebred owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Sadler, is winless in three starts since taking the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Feb. 21. The 4-year-old daughter of Pleasantly Perfect ran second to Malibu Pier as the odds-on choice in the four-horse Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her most recent start June 26 at Hollywood. She will try blinkers for the first time.
The Beverly Hills victory for Malibu Pier, a B. Wayne Hughes homebred trained by Carla Gaines, was her third in six races in 2011. The 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly captured the Santa Ana (gr. IIT) and Santa Barbara (gr. IIT) handicaps consecutively this spring at Santa Anita.
Medaglia d'Amour makes her first appearance for trainer Ben Cecil since she took the Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood in May 2010. She had a three-race win streak before going to the sidelines.
Turning Top was fifth in the Mabee last year to begin her current seven-race losing streak.
$250,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 9, 6 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Harmonious (KY), J Rosario, 121, J A Shirreffs
2. Cozi Rosie (KY), G K Gomez, 121, J W Sadler
3. Wasted Tears (KY), D R Flores, 119, B B Evans
4. Malibu Pier (KY), B Blanc, 121, C Gaines
5. Go Forth North (KY), M Garcia, 119, A C Avila
6. Turning Top (IRE), M E Smith, 119, S Callaghan
7. Celtic Princess (BRZ), R Bejarano, 121, A C Avila
8. Medaglia d'Amour (KY), J Talamo, 119, B D Cecil
Blinkers On: Cozi Rosie