Lightly-raced 4-year-old Magnificience was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in a contentious field of 10 fillies and mares lining up for the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 24 on the Del Mar Polytrack.
Trained and co-owned by Bruce Headley, Magnificience is the morning-line choice despite losing by 2 1/4 lengths to current entrant Dearest Trickski in the June 28 A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park. Tom Mankiewicz’ Dearest Trickski, a former claimer who has won two of three stakes this season, is the 7-2 second choice. There are three other graded stakes winners in the field, including Lethal Heat, who returns just eight days after running third in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I).
The 6 1/2-furlong Rancho Bernardo is one of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” events on the Del Mar card. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the $ 1-million Filly & Mare Sprint Oct. 24 Santa Anita.
Magnificience had a legitimate excuse for finishing second in the seven-furlong A Gleam, as she missed the break by about a length from post 10 and had to play catch-up to front-running Dearest Trickski for the entire race. Magnificience was near the back of the field of 11 in the early going and had to come five-wide into the stretch. She closed ground nicely in the final sixteenth, but ran out of room. It was her first loss in four starts.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic—Fashion Delight, by Fappiano, Magnificience broke her maiden at Santa Anita last March and then won the Santa Paula Stakes (gr. III) three weeks later by five lengths. She was off for more than 13 months before making her 2008 debut in allowance company May 18 at Hollywood, where she won by a nose.
Breaking from post 3 this time, Magnificience will have David Flores in the irons.
Dearest Trickski has been nothing short of phenomenal since trainer John Sadler claimed the 4-year-old for Mankiewicz for $32,000 last August. The daughter of Proudest Romeo has won five of seven starts since that day, including the Dec. 29 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. She also scored by 4 1/4 lengths in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint one month later.
In the A Gleam, Dearest Trickski broke from post 11 but used her speed to clear the field and jumped to a lead that she would never relinquish. She has gone gate-to-wire in all five of her wins this season. Overall, the bay filly who has been claimed three times in her career, has won 10 of 15 starts. This time the Florida-bred will break from post 7 under Mike Smith.
Trained and co-owned by Barry Abrams, Lethal Heat led into the stretch in the nine-furlong Del Mar Oaks before being passed by Bel Air Sizzle and longshot winner Magical Fantasy. The 3-year-old Unusual Heat filly won consecutive stakes at Del Mar prior to that, and also took the Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) in June. She is 6-0-2 from eight starts this season. Alex Solis gets the mount for the first time.
Moyglare Stud Farm’s Society Hostess was a nose away from taking the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 2, but has not raced since then. A 6-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold, she finished second, but was disqualified to fifth in the her only other start this season, the Jan. 1 Monrovia Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita. The Christophe Clement trainee won that event in 2007.
The other graded stakes winner in the field is Tiz Elemental, who finished fifth in the A Gleam. The 4-year-old filly won the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) in April.
$200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III, Race 7, 5 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Silky Smooth (KY), 116, Rafael Bejarano
2. Makor's Love (WA), 107, Julio Garcia
3. Magnificience (KY), 118, David Flores
4. La Tee (WA), 114, Tyler Baze
5. Tiz Elemental (CA), 120, Joel Rosario
6. Lethal Heat (CA), 115, Alex Solis
7. Dearest Trickski (FL), 120, Mike Smith
8. Society Hostess (KY), 117, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
9. Spring Awakening (CA), 112, Garrett Gomez
10. Highland Torree (KY), 113, Martin Garcia