Miller Sees Upside for Woebegon in Debutante

Trainer expects better against modest group of fillies in grade I test at Del Mar.

With the 2-year-old filly division in California far from settled, trainer Peter Miller thinks his charge Woebegon has every chance to rebound in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) Sept. 3.

The seven-furlong Debutante attracted a field of 10 to the Polytrack and few of the entrants have any stakes experience. Mighty Caroline, winner of the Aug. 5 Sorrento Stakes (gr. III), the major Del Mar prep for its championship race for juvenile fillies, was recently diagnosed with a strained suspensory and reportedly retired. Other top finishers in the Sorrento were pointed elsewhere, leaving a bit of a grab-bag.

The Debutante is the eighth race on the Del Mar card with a 5:30 p.m. PDT expected post.

Jay Em Ess Stable's Woebegon is coming off a fourth-place finish as the 11-10 choice in the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park July 16. The horse that won the Landaluce, Killer Graces, came back as the 11-10 favorite in the Sorrento but was never a factor after bobbling at the start. She finished sixth of seven.

Miller, who won the Debutante in 2007 with Set Play, blames himself for Woebegon's tepid effort in the Landaluce. He will remove blinkers as the Florida-bred daughter of Saint Anddan make her third lifetime start.

"I probably shouldn’t have run her back in three weeks (following her maiden debut victory)," Miller said. "She ran a big number on the sheets and an 84 Beyer, and in hindsight, I should have passed up the Landaluce and ran her in the Sorrento. But since I didn’t do that, it forced me to pass up the Sorrento and train her up to the Debutante."

Woebegon, a $125,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. purchase in April, started her career at Hollywood June 26 with a front-running 3 1/4-length win against maidens at five furlongs.

"My filly didn’t run her race (in the Landaluce), and I’m hoping she’ll run back to her maiden race," Miller said. "If she does, I think she’ll be very competitive in this race."

Martin Pedroza, who has ridden Woebegon in both of her prior starts, has the return engagement. They drew post 9 while carrying 118 pounds.

Miller sees no obvious standouts in the field. Trainer Bob Baffert is represented by a first-out maiden winner Aug. 7, Dreamcaster, while the Peter Eurton trainee, Weemissfrankie, also broke her maiden impressively in her initial try at Del Mar July 20.

Killer Graces, the 122-pound top weight for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, is the most accomplished competitor in the field with back-to-back-wins in the Cinderella and Landaluce at Hollywood. But after failing to rally in the Sorrento, there is concern the Kentucky-bred daughter of Congaree  may not care for Del Mar's Polytrack. Killer Graces has won two of four starts with one second and will have Joe Talamo aboard once again. They break from post 8.

Weemissfrankie rallied from seventh to tally by a half-length in her debut, making up five lengths in the final eighth of the five-furlong heat. The New York-bred daughter of Sunriver brought $175,000 at the OBS April sale. She has been training beautifully for Eurton in preparation for her return, most recently drilling five furlongs in :59 1/5 Aug. 27 at Del Mar. Rafael Bejarano rides once more.

Baffert, a six-time Debutante winner, takes a big step up with Westrock Stables' Dreamcaster. The British-bred daughter of Bernardini  is out of the stakes-winning mare Winendynme and cost $250,000 as a yearling last November at Keeneland. Dreamcaster cleared 10 rivals in her debut and led at every call to win by 2 1/4 lengths as the 6-5 pick. Martin Garcia rides.

Silent Saga, a daughter of of Silent Name  that is bred, owned, and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, also comes off an impressive 3 1/4-length maiden win at 5 1/2 furlongs Aug. 14 on Del Mar's Polytrack. That was the bay filly's second start after a third-place finish in her first try, both with Victor Espinoza aboard.

Emerald Gold, a $130,000 War Front  lass, registered a 2 3/4-length maiden triumph at Del Mar July 30 for Glen Hill Farm and trainer Tom Proctor. Garrett Gomez has the return call.

Coup de Coeur invades from Northern California for trainer Jeff Bonde off a 6 1/2-length maiden win at Santa Rosa in her third start Aug. 12.

Evelyn's Dancer is two-for-two in her career and is coming off a win over starter allowance foes at Del Mar July 28. Troy Taylor trains the Songandaprayer miss for Mark Dedomenico and North American Thoroughbred.

Self Preservation graduated on the turf at Tipperary in Ireland June 23. The Lion Heart filly makes her first start in the United States for J. Paul Reddam and trainer Ben Cecil

Evelyn’s Dancer and Self Preservation were supplemental entries at $10,000 each.

Maiden Wild Truffles completes the field.

$250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Evelyn's Dancer (KY), T Baze, 116, T Taylor
2. Coup de Coeur (KY), J Rosario, 118, J Bonde
3. Wild Truffles (KY), A Quinonez, 116, L Powell
4. Self Preservation (KY), P A Valenzuela, 122, B D Cecil
5. Silent Saga (KY), V Espinoza, 118, M K Cho
6. Weemissfrankie (NY), R Bejarano, 118, P Eurton
7. Emerald Gold (KY), G K Gomez, 118, T F Proctor
8. Killer Graces (KY), J Talamo, 122, J Hollendorfer
9. Woebegon (FL), M A Pedroza, 118, P Miller
10. Dreamcaster (GB), M Garcia, 118, B Baffert
Blinkers Off: Woebegon