Justique Returns to Del Mar in $100K Desi Arnaz

November 18, 2022

Justique gallops Oct. 27 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

DMTC Press Release

DEL MAR, Calif.— Justique has only won a maiden race, but she did it in such a fashion that the 2-year-old daughter of Justify caught the eye of much of the racing world. Saturday she’ll be on display again at Del Mar when she runs in the $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes, a seven furlong test for juvenile fillies on the main track.

Justique wowed them in her debut performance at Del Mar in July, going from last to first to break her maiden. She won by 2 ½ lengths but it was the way she accelerated around the turn and continued to eat up ground in the stretch that made her standout from the other 2-year-olds at Del Mar last summer.

That early interest was dulled a bit when she ran third in the G2 Chandelier at Santa Anita last out, finishing 5 ½ lengths behind the winner, And Tell Me No Lies, this year’s Del Mar Debutante champion. Trainer John Shirreffs believes he knows the reason why she ran the way she did.

“She got really tired,” he says, “and she wasn’t fit enough.”

The mile and sixteenth Chandelier was Justique’s first time around two turns. She was in the back of the pack again that day and made a menacing move in the turn, similar to the one in her debut. But she appeared to flatten out in the lane and was no match for the top two finishers. She did muster up enough run to salvage third place in the final strides.

Justique worked a blistering :58.00 in a five furlong drill at Del Mar on Sunday.

“She worked really well over the racetrack,” Shirreffs says. “She looks good going into the race.”

Huntingcoco works Nov. 14 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Two horses she beat in the Chandelier are back for the Desi Arnaz. Huntingcoco faded to last in the race. Like Justique, it was the daughter of Practical Joke’s second career start following an impressive 6 ¾ length victory in her career debut, a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar in September.

The other is Naughty Lottie, who set the early pace in the Chandelier and then faded to sixth. It was the daughter of Midnight Lute’s third career start after running third in a sprint at Prairie Meadows in August and notching a overpowering 15-length win in her debut, a maiden special weight at Louisiana Downs in July. She’s trained by Keith Desormeaux and will be ridden by his brother, Hall of Fame rider Kent Desormeaux, on the comeback trail this fall at Del Mar.

Another horse of note is Blessed Touch from the Tim Yakteen barn. The daughter of Girvin broke her maiden by eight lengths in a sprint at Santa Anita last out.

Seven fillies are entered in the Desi Arnaz, named after the famous bandleader, television producer/actor and husband of actress Lucille Ball. It’s the sixth of nine races on the Saturday card. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys and morning line:

Justique (Victor Espinoza, 8/5); Parody (Juan Hernandez, 4-1); Naughty Lottie (12-1); Huntingcoco (Flavien Prat, 7/2); Smokem for You (Francisco Rojas-Orduna, 30-1); Blessed Touch (Drayden Van Dyke, 9/5) and Daddy Classy Dill (Diego Herrera, 30-1).

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