Raymundos Secret © Benoit Photo
A field of eight was entered today for next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 John C. Mabee Stakes.
The 1 1/8-mile test for older fillies and mares on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, won the past two years by standout Vasilika, will be run for the 63rd time overall and the 18th time since being renamed for one of the founding fathers of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Seven race nominees were put through final exercises when the turf course opened at 9:45 this morning with some trainers waiting to make entry decisions until after the workouts.
Trainer Phil D’Amato, who conditioned Red King for an upset of United in the Del Mar Handicap on the grass eight days ago, observed as Raymundos Secret worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.60 and declared the Florida-bred, 4-year-old daughter of Treasure Beach ready for the race.
“She had a nice strong gallop out and it’s all good,” D’Amato said.
Raymundos Secret has four wins in six lifetime starts and is fresh off a victory in an allowance race here on August 14 that ended a nearly 10-month hiatus from racing.
“She might have come back earlier in a pre-Covid environment,” D’Amato said. “There was nothing wrong physically, we just gave her that extra time. She came back in really good order and I think it was a really good prep for her. So we’re taking a shot in the stakes.”
A year ago, Raymundos Secret was tried at the 1 1/8-mile distance in a stakes here – the Grade I Del Mar Oaks. She set the pace for the first mile but was overwhelmed by late runners in the final eighth and finished eighth of 13.
“She’s grown up since then and seems like a much kinder filly to rate now,” D’Amato said. “I’m hoping that with her being more mature, and showing she can relax, that will help her finish better.”
The draw for post positions was set for this afternoon. The field, in alphabetical order: Catch the Eye (J.C. Diaz, Jr.); Don’t Blame Judy (Drayden Van Dyke); Lady Prancealot (Umberto Rispoli); Meal Ticket (Tiago Pereira); Pulpit Rider (Juan Hernandez); Quick (Jose Valdivia, Jr.); Raymundo’s Secret (Flavien Prat), and Zee Drop (Abel Cedillo).