DEL MAR, Calif.— Going to Vegas is back to defend her crown, but it’s her stablemate, Going Global, that’s expected to go off the favorite in the 65th running of the G2 John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar Saturday.
Going to Vegas came to trainer Philip D’Amato in the spring after a successful 2021 campaign under trainer Richard Baltas.
“Her goal has been for this race,” D’Amato says, “to have a nice two-race sequence with her, the Mabee and then the Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita.”
Going to Vegas won four of her seven starts last year including a stretch of three wins in a row that started with an allowance race at Del Mar, followed by her win in the Mabee, followed by another huge win in the G1 Rodeo Drive. That got her into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar, though she finished 11th of 12 horses.
The daughter of Goldencents returned in 2022 sharp as ever, tallying three straight runner-up finishes, all in graded stakes. There was the second to now stablemate Leggs Galore in her 5-year-old debut, the G2 Buena Vista at Santa Anita. She then ran second to Queen Goddess in the G3 Santa Ana in March and was runner-up to Ocean Road in the G1 Gamely in May. It was in that race she beat Going Global, who finished third.
“She’s freshened up,” D’Amato says. “She’s raring to go. “
Going to Vegas doesn’t have to look far to find her chief competition. Just a glance down the shedrow and she’ll see Going Global, who bounced back to win the G2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar last month.
“She’s doing great,” D’Amato says. “She came out of her race in really good shape. Distance should be right up her alley and Umberto (Rispoli) has the ride back.”
Going Global won the G2 Royal Heroine at Santa Anita in her 2022 debut in April. This after a highly successful 2021 in which she won six of her eight starts. A first- or second-place finish in the Mabee would boost her career earnings over the $1 million mark.
A field of seven is entered for the 1 1/8 mile turf test. Avenue de France, from the Leonard Powell barn, will make her third start at the summer meet. She finished second to Going Global last out in the Yellow Ribbon after winning the $100,000 Osunitas Stakes on opening weekend. She’s finished first or second in her last four starts.
Park Avenue will look to get back on track after running last in the Yellow Ribbon. The daughter of Quality Road, from the John Sadler barn, has finished off the board in all three of her starts in Grade 2 stakes this year, but in her other three races in 2022 she won twice and finished second to As Time Goes By in the G3 La Canada at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day.
Bellamore and Eddie’s New Dream are both running for the third time at Del Mar this summer. Bellamore won an allowance race on opening day and then ran third in the $100,000 CTT & TOC Stakes last month. The daughter of Empire Maker is trained by Simon Callaghan.
Eddie’s New Dream got run down by Bellamore in the second-level allowance on opening day and then just missed in another runner-up finish, this time to Warrens Candy Girl, in the $150,000 Solana Beach on August 21.
The G2 John C. Mabee is named after the popular owner and breeder who, along with his wife Betty, founded Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona and bred Best Pal, the winner of the first Pacific Classic in 1991. John Mabee was also one of the original founders of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys and odds: Going to Vegas (Flavien Prat, 5/2); Bellamore (Joe Bravo, 20-1); Avenue de France (Juan Hernandez, 6-1); Park Avenue (Hector Berrios, 6-1); Going Global (4/5); Burgoo Alley (Ramon Vazquez, 12-1), and Eddie’s New Dream (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1).
DMTC Press Release
Main photo: Going to Vegas (Benoit Photo)