Decked Out wins the Dec. 31 American Oaks at Santa Anita Park

Decked Out wins the Dec. 31 American Oaks at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

Grade 1 Winner Decked Out Returns in John C. Mabee

American Oaks winner is back racing after a nine-month layoff.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux didn't send Decked Out to the sideline after her win in the Dec. 31 American Oaks (G1T) for any particular injury or ailment. She just needed a rest.

Never one to shy away from self deprecation, Desormeaux saw the toll the 11-race 2016 campaign took on the Street Boss  filly owned by Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners, and Gene Voss and made the easy decision.

"She had a little time off after the American Oaks because she earned it. I thought she was a little down after that race, but she was clean as a whistle. She was knocking on the door all year and danced every dance, and was maybe a little mismanaged by her trainer," Desormeaux said with a laugh. "If he had backed off her a little bit, maybe she would have run like she did in the American Oaks."

Desormeaux's comment is a reference to her nearly three-month layoff from a 12th-place finish in the Rodeo Drive (G1T) at Santa Anita Park to the American Oaks, in which she closed from ninth to catch Sassy Little Lila by a nose at the Santa Anita wire. Her previous 10 starts as a 3-year-old came in a span of nine months.

NOVAK: Decked Out Flies Home in American Oaks

How she'll handle a nine-month layoff remains to be seen in the $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (G2T) at Del Mar, with potential runs in the Rodeo Drive and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) in her future. Prior to the 2016 Rodeo Drive, she finished a head second to Harmonize in the Del Mar Oaks (G1T).

"When you win a grade 1 race, you can only have lofty expectations from then on out," Desormeaux said. "But it took us a while to figure out grass was where she'd run her best. She also had a couple of quirks. She doesn't like to be pushed hard or hit, but she does her job well and gives it her all. It works for her."

Decked Out won't be landing in an easy spot, however, in the 1 1/8-mile Mabee. The field includes six other graded winners, including last-out Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2T) winner Cambodia.

BALAN: Cambodia Ships in, Takes Yellow Ribbon

Two of those graded runners are from the barn of trainer Richard Baltas who has entered three horses in race. Since she joined the Baltas barn in 2016, Abbondanza Racing's Goodyearforroses has put in quality performances each time she's taken to the track in Southern California (her lone off-the-board finish was a fifth-place run in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1T) at Keeneland). She won her first three races for Baltas, including the Santa Ana Stakes (G2T), and came in second, a half-length behind the indefatigable Lady Eli, last time out in the May 27 Gamely Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita.

Another transplant from the East, Hillhouse High, won the Royal Heroine (G2T) for Baltas April 8 and exits a fourth-place finish in the Yellow Ribbon.

Mrs McDougal came in third in her Southern California debut for trainer Richard Mandella, the restricted Osunitas Stakes, at odds of 4-5. With trainer Chad Brown at age 3 and 4, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  won three stakes, including the 2016 Noble Damsel (G3T) at Belmont Park and 2015 Lake George (G2T) at Saratoga Race Course.

Entries: John C. Mabee S. (G2T)

Del Mar, Saturday, September 02, 2017, Race 9

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 5:54 PM (local)
11Hillhouse High (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRafael Bejarano121Richard Baltas12/1
22Kiss Me Now (BRZ)Martin Garcia123Paulo H. Lobo30/1
33Decked Out (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux123J. Keith Desormeaux6/1
44Cambodia (KY)Drayden Van Dyke121Thomas F. Proctor9/2
55Madame Stripes (ARG)Joseph Talamo119Neil D. Drysdale8/1
66Mrs McDougal (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat119Richard E. Mandella5/1
77Lady Valeur (IRE)Ricardo Gonzalez119Patrick Gallagher20/1
88Barleysugar (IRE)Tyler Baze119Edward R. Freeman15/1
99Pretty Girl (ARG)Mike E. Smith119Paulo H. Lobo8/1
1010Insta Erma (KY)Gary L. Stevens119Richard Baltas20/1
1111Amboseli (KY)Victor Espinoza119James M. Cassidy12/1
1212Frenzified (GB)Santiago Gonzalez119James M. Cassidy20/1
1313Goodyearforroses (IRE)Corey S. Nakatani121Richard Baltas7/2