Bully Bones Battles Best in Sorrento

Bully Bones made it back-to-back victories to begin her career when she won Saturday's $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies in determined fashion at Del Mar.

Ridden by Rene Douglas for trainer David La Croix, the Florida-bred chestnut daughter of Hesabull took over at the head of the lane after pressing the leaders and held off the late charge of Acceleration and Alex Solis by 1 1/2 lengths. She completed the 6 1/2 furlong event, the major local prep race for the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) Aug. 27, in 1:17 1/5.

Slick Road, off slowly for Mike Smith after starting from the rail, closed in the middle of the track just in time to nip Diplomat Lady for third. Something went awry for 2-1 favorite Indian Breeze, who fought for the early lead down the backstretch before backing out of it ahead of the turn for jockey Tyler Baze. Indian Breeze was one of only two stakes winners in the field of nine and had won both of her lifetime starts.

"She just wasn't happy today," Baze said. "She was nervous in the post parade, then she just wasn't in the race. I was riding her at the half-mile pole – trying to stay up in there – but she just didn't want to run today."

Bully Bones broke her maiden from the rail in a 4 1/2-furlong debut at Hollywood Park April 23 at odds of 37-1, but went to the sidelines after bucking her shins.

"I was aiming for an allowance race for her comeback, but I decided to take a chance here," La Croix said. "I was really concerned from the sixteenth pole when I saw (Acceleration) coming."

Bully Bones was forwardly placed while five wide as Indian Breeze set out on the early lead, and they battled Tiger On the Loose on the inside and Diplomat Lady to her outside. As the favorite faded, Bully Bones moved into contention on the outside of the pacesetters, who completed the quarter-mile in a rapid :21 3/5 and the half-mile in :44 2/5. Bully Bones overcame Tiger On the Loose and Diplomat Lady at the top of the stretch and edged away to a daylight advantage as Douglas stayed busy aboard the winner and Acceleration closed in late. Bully Bones responded when challenged.

"I was tracking the speed, which was right where I wanted to be," Douglas said. "Then when it came time, she did what she had to do."

Co-owner Meadowbrook Farms Inc. bred Bully Bones, who is out of the Beau's Eagle mare Anniversary Wish, in Florida. She earned $90,000 for Meadowbrook and Gene and Lolli Anderson, et al.

Bully Bones paid $10.20, $6, and $5. Acceleration, who was jumping out of a starter allowance for trainer Jeff Mullins, returned $9 and $7. Slick Road, a four-length maiden winner in her last start, was $12.40 to show.

After Diplomat Lady came I Can See, Hystericalady, Tiger On the Loose, Indian Breeze, and Noriska Number One.

(Chart, Equibase)