Fun to Dream (inside). Benoit Photo
DEL MAR, Calif.—One-to-five favorite Fun to Dream found herself in a serious horse race inside the eighth pole Sunday at Del Mar in the $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes as rival Taming the Tiger growled and dug deep. But “Dream” was up to the task and dug in even deeper to edge past her foe late and score by a head.
The two leaders brushed in the stretch, but the stewards saw no reason to put up the inquiry sign.
Fun to Dream, owned and bred by Natalie Baffert and Connie Pageler, earned a first prize of $57,000 for her hard work in the California-bred race for fillies, mares, 3 and up, to push her bankroll to $246,590 with her fourth victory in her fifth start.
She was ridden by Del Mar’s leading rider, Juan Hernandez, who was completing a sweep of the track’s trio of stakes over its three-day opening weekend. She is trainer by Bob Baffert, who was winning his record 153rd Del Mar stakes.
“She didn’t want to get beat. There was some bumping in the stretch and after my filly got bumped, she got tougher. She tried harder. At the quarter pole she switched leads and we got to running. Then they came together some and my filly showed some fight. I like it. The other filly (Taming the Tigress) ran hard, but my filly did, too,” said Hernandez.
The game Taming the Tiger is owned by Mia Familia Racing Stable and trained by Librado Barocio. Finishing third, almost six lengths behind “Tiger,” was Harris Farms’ All Dialed In.
Fun to Dream is a daughter of the late champion Arrogate, one of trainer Baffert’s true stars. This past summer she won the seven-furlong, Cal-bred Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar by almost 10 lengths. She covered today’s seven furlongs in 1:22.14
Jimmy Barnes, assistant trainer for Bob Baffert, commented: “I was thinking we’d go right to the front the way the track is playing but I think we got bumped by the four at the start and we had to go to a Plan ‘B’. She does sit off of horses, that’s why we took off the blinkers last time to get her to relax. She did what she needed to do. The other filly put in a helluva fight. Luckily, she’s a warrior and she wore her down.”
Fun to Dream paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 across the board. Taming the Tigress returned $4.00 and $2.60, while All Dialed In paid $3.20 to show.
The track’s popular Rainbow Pick Six did not have a single ticket winner for the third straight day and its carryover pool built to $114,663, which will be in the pot to start when racing resumes Friday. First post that day will be at 12:30 p.m.