Maiden Wins Del Mar Debutante
Photo: Associated Press/ Benoit Photo
Cindy's Hero, ridden by Garrett Gomez, passes favorite Notable Career to win the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante on Saturday at Del Mar.
Elizabeth and Tom Baxter's Cindy's Hero charged along the rail while rounding the turn to move into contention, was swung out for racing room approaching the stretch by jockey Garrett Gomez, and closed gamely though the stretch to earn her first career win in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) Saturday at Del Mar. The win marks the second grade I win in successive weekends for Gomez, who also guided Skimming to victory in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 26th at Del Mar.

Cindy's Hero (Sea Hero--Cindazanno, by Alleged) finished second in both her career starts prior to the Debutante while racing against fellow maidens. In the Debutante, she waited patiently in last place early while Notable Career and Euro Empire dueled through early fractions of :22.02 and :44.54. Gomez let Cindy's Hero loose on the turn and she quickly passed Give Praise, who had stumbled at the start, and Sea Reel. As Notable Career pulled away from Euro Empire, Cindy's Hero came off the rail and surged toward the leader, passing Euro Empire in mid-stretch and Notable Career in the final strides. Cindy's Hero completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.61 on a fast track and won by 3/4 lengths at the wire.

"When we came up to the three-eighths pole I dropped her down inside and she started eating them up. My eyes lit up," said Gomez. "She must have picked up five lengths in four jumps. She was doing it. She just found another gear. When we turned for home I knew I had David's horse (David Flores on favored Notable Career). I knew my filly still had her kick and we were gaining. It was sweet."

Notable Career finished second, five lengths ahead of Euro Empire. Sea Reel and Give Praise completed the order of finish. Beauty and Style was scratched.

Trained by David Hofmans, Cindy's Hero was bred in Kentucky by Tom Baxter. She earned $150,000 for the win to bring her career earnings to $168,000. The fourth wagering choice in the five-horse field, Cindy's Hero returned $14.80 for the win and led a $1 exacta worth $24.40.

"That's a nice way to break a maiden -- in a Grade I race," Hofmans said. (Chart, Equibase)

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