Free Flying Soul, upset as the odds-on choice by Sweet August Moon in last month's A Gleam Handicap (gr. II), gets another shot at her nemesis in the $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar Aug. 22.
Just five older fillies and mares are entered in the Rancho Bernardo, a six-furlong Polytrack event. Free Flying Soul, winner of the Desert Stormer Stakes at Hollywood Park prior to the seven-furlong A Gleam July 17, is the 122-pound top weight.
The Rancho Bernardo, which comes with an automatic slot in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) for the winner, is the fourth race on the program with a 3:30 p.m. PDT post.
Trained by Bruce Headley for owner Marsha Naify, Free Flying Soul has four stakes wins to her credit, but none of them are graded. The 5-year-old Quiet American mare was sent off as the 4-5 choice in the A Gleam, but was stuck four wide at the quarter pole and could not catch Sweet August Moon in the homestretch, losing by nearly two lengths.
Rafael Bejarano replaces regular rider Mike Smith aboard Free Flying Soul, who drew the rail.
Sweet August Moon got the better trip in the A Gleam, getting through along the inside after stalking a solid pace. The 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon was pulling away from the favorite as they approached the wire at odds of 13-1. Owned by Legacy Ranch and Team MacPherson and trained by Brian Koriner, Sweet August Moon was fifth in the Desert Stormer, more than three lengths behind Free Flying Soul. She drew post 4 and carries 119 with Victor Espinoza up.
Headley also entered Silver Swallow in the Rancho Bernardo for owner Gainesway Farm and partners. The late-running gray/roan mare, now 6, has won just four of 23 lifetime starts but has been in the money 17 times. The daughter of Alphabet Soup beat a conditional allowance field going 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood July 5 in her first start since January.
Alpha Kitten, winner of the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) in January 2009 before going to the sidelines for 13 months, makes her fourth start of the year for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Sadler. Alpha Kitten has not raced since a runner-up effort to Free Flying Soul in the Desert Stormer June 12. She was third, a half-length behind the victorious Mona de Momma, in the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita in April.
Taste's Sis, in her first start since winning a stakes at Turf Paradise Dec. 26, returns to action for trainer Molly Pearson.
$150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III, Race 4, 3:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Free Flying Soul (KY), R Bejarano, 122, B Headley
2. Alpha Kitten (KY), J Rosario, 117, J W Sadler
3. Taste's Sis (KY), P A Valenzuela, 114, M J Pearson
4. Sweet August Moon (PA), V Espinoza, 119, B J Koriner
5. Silver Swallow (FL), A Quinonez, 119, B Headley