Homebred Spectator bested a field of high-priced fillies in the Sorrento Stakes

Homebred Spectator bested a field of high-priced fillies in the Sorrento Stakes

Benoit Photo

Spectator Blows Away Sorrento Field

Homebred daughter of Jimmy Creed defeated high-priced fillies with ease.

The task seemed tough for Rick and Sharon Waller's homebred Spectator.

In the $200,000 Sorrento Stakes (G2) Aug. 5, the Jimmy Creed  filly would have to take on a $1.7 million sale purchase and a blowout last-out stakes winner who was also an expensive auction buy.

But trainer Phil D'Amato was never dissuaded from taking on the "big girls" with Spectator, and she took full advantage of her opportunity. With her high-priced opponents off the board, the chestnut filly drew away late in the 6 1/2-furlong Sorrento in a dominant, 5 1/4-length score at Del Mar

Video: Sorrento S. (G2)

Surrender Now, the even-money favorite and last-out winner of the Landaluce Stakes by eight lengths, set the early pace, but did not last long on the front. The first quarter went in :21.93, but the Morning Line  filly backed up harshly in the turn.

Spectator and jockey Jamie Theriot raced in second, just off Surrender Now early, and were closely followed by longshots Terra's Angel and Midnight Summer.

"She was a runner all the way," Theriot said. "She broke sharp and she went on with it. Phil said, 'Ride it as it comes up.' That's what I did. I think she'll run on, too."

As the field turned for home, it appeared that Terra's Angel, at 56-1 off a debut win at Lone Star Park, would provide a challenge alongside Spectator, but she proved to be no match. Spectator kicked away impressively and finished off the distance in 1:17.66.

"After she broke her maiden the way she did, we just kind of let her grow up these past few weeks," D'Amato said. "This (race) has been on the radar from the get-go, and we just let her mature and she sure did. She's still trying to figure it out in some ways. She's just a bunch of raw talent and she's getting better and better." 

Maiden Dancing Belle, off at 17-1, closed in the stretch to pass Terra's Angel for second-place honors. Surrender Now was eased and galloped to the wire last of seven, while $1.7 million purchase and impressive debut winner Diamondsandpearls broke slow and was never seriously involved en route to a fourth-place finish.

Spectator provided Spendthrift Farm stallion Jimmy Creed  his first stakes winner as a sire, following her 5 1/4-length debut win June 23 at Santa Anita Park. The Wallers bred Spectator in Kentucky, out of the Henny Hughes mare Diva's Tribute.

"As small breeders we always try to come up with the best horse we can when we're planning a breeding," Rick Waller said. "Sometimes the little guy gets lucky."

Spectator now has $152,400 from her two victories. 

Jimmy Creed, a grade 1-winning of Distorted Humor  and a half brother to grade 1 winner Pussycat Doll, stood for an advertised fee of $5,000 in 2017.