The best 3-year-old turf fillies in Southern California battled it out in a thrilling stretch run Aug. 20 in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT), but an invader from the East ended up getting a head in front at the wire.
Larkin Armstrong's Harmonize encountered some traffic in the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile test, but once in the clear found her best stride on the outside late and outfinished graded winners Decked Out, Stays in Vegas, and Mokat to win her first grade I.
"She had some trouble last time, but she ran just right today. ... She was full of run today and showed everyone just how good she is," winning jockey Junior Alvarado said. "This is my first mount at Del Mar—amazing—(and) I win a grade I. It doesn't get any better than that."
Harmonize, a Bill Mott-trained Scat Daddy filly, actually got passed momentarily by Decked Out. But she battled back between horses to win by a head, in front of the fellow closer. Stays in Vegas, who took a clear lead turning for home after tracking Lady Valeur through fractions of :23.43, :47.87, and 1:12.69, finished a nose back in third. Last-out San Clemente (gr. IIT) winner Mokat completed the superfecta another half-length back in fourth. Harmonize finished off the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.71.
"We already faced the very nice fillies on the East Coast—Catch a Glimpse and Time and Motion—and we thought coming here would be a good opporunity to win a grade I," Mott assistant Rodolphe Brisset said. "We got a dream trip and got there at the wire, so that's very good.
"We're going back to New York on Wednesday, but now—we'll just enjoy this one."
Mott has now won the Del Mar Oaks twice, coupled with Bail Out Becky's victory in 1995.
Harmonize was bred in Kentucky out of the Sky Mesa mare Mesa Fresca, and now has a 4-2-1 record from nine starts with earnings of $484,260.