DEL MAR, Calif.— Trainer Phil D’Amato was a happy camper Sunday morning at Del Mar. His quartet of 3-year-old fillies all came out of their efforts in Saturday’s San Clemente Stakes in good order and cleaned their feed tubs in style.
The conditioner ran one, two, three in the Grade II filly stakes, led by Bellabel, who reported home by two lengths over stablemate Sixteen Arches, who in turn had a neck on stablemate Island of Love. Their other runner, Helens Well, ran into trouble on several occasions during the mile on the lawn and wound up checking in 8th.
All four fillies – each of them an Irish-bred – are seen as candidates for Del Mar’s 3-year-old filly jewel, the $300,000, Grade I Del Mar Oaks at nine furlong on the green August 20.
“I’m pleased with the way they all came back,” D’Amato said Sunday. “They all ran hard and there was a lot of bumping and snatching going on out there, but everyone is home and sound now. That’s what you want.
“We’ll see how they train from here, but they’re all candidates to come back in the Oaks. You know, I’ve got another filly, too, named Rhea Moon who I really like and might be a candidate for that race also.”
Rhea Moon, an Irish-bred (of course) by Starspangledbanner, runs in today’s 11th race, a mile and a sixteenth allowance affair on the Del Mar lawn. She registered her maiden victory on the Santa Anita grass last out on June 4.
On another front, trainer Leonard Powell was quite happy with his hard-knocking racemare Avenue de France, who was a handy winner of the $100,000 Osunitas Stakes, the overnight offering that was the co-feature on the Saturday card. The 5-year-old daughter of Cityscape tallied by better than a length with a big late run under hot-riding Juan Hernandez and increased her bankroll to $325,066 with her seventh career victory.
“She came out of it very well,” the personable Frenchman offered Sunday morning. “We’d like to run her back at the meet, but our options are limited. We’d have to consider the John Mabee near the end of the meet. That might be the one.”
The John C. Mabee Stakes, a mile and one-eighth on the lawn for fillies and mares, is set for Saturday, September 10. It offers Grade II status and a $250,000 purse.
Del Mar Press Release
Photo: Phil D’Amato (Benoit Photo)