Neige Blanche a Formidable Force in CTT & TOC Stakes

August 18, 2022

DEL MAR, Calif.— Madaket Stables, et al’s Neige Blanche is back to defend her title in the $100,000 CTT & TOC Stakes at Del Mar Friday. The 5-year-old French-bred will face seven other marathon grass runners in the 1 3/8 mile race on the same turf course where she made her U.S. debut in 2020.

“She was already a stakes winner when she came over,” trainer Leonard Powell remembers about Neige Blanche, who raced six times in France before crossing the pond. “Her first race for us was actually here when she ran fourth in the Del Mar Oaks. Then she went to New York and ran third in the Belmont Oaks which was a Grade I. She was always the goods.”

Neige Blanche has won four of her last five races. Three of those victories came in Grade 3 races starting with the Red Carpet Handicap during the fall meet at Del Mar last November. She followed that with a win in the G3 Astra Stakes at Santa Anita in January, finished third in the G3 Santa Ana in March only to get back to the winners circle in the G3 Santa Barbara in May and the $100,000 Possibly Perfect in June.

Powell worked Neige Blanche Sunday. She went four furlongs in :47.80.

“A very nice work,” Powell said. “She’s doing very well. It’s always a pleasure to see her run.”

Neige Blanche won the CTT & TOC last year. The 1 3/8 miles is the same as the Red Carpet, so distance will not be an issue for Neige Blanche. Leading rider, Juan Hernandez, has the mount.

Neige Blanche winning last year’s CTT & TOC (Del Mar Racing)

The horse that ran second to Neige Blanche in the Possibly Perfect at Santa Anita is back for more in the CTT & TOC. Calumet Farm’s Scarabea, a daughter of American Pharoah, is trained by Jack Sisterson, an East Coast conditioner who brought a string of horses to Del Mar for the first time this summer. He’s off to an 0-for-11 start at the meet.

Kaleem Shah’s Bellamore posted a 22-1 upset on opening day in a second-level allowance, her second win in a row. She, too, has won four of her last five races, albeit against much easier company than Neige Blanche has faced.

R Unicorn Stable’s Macadamia will be making her third start in the States and second at Del Mar. She finished third to Bellamore last out, just a length behind the winner. The Brazilian-bred is trained by leading trainer, Phil D’Amato.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partner’s Sister Otoole ships in for trainer H. Graham Motion. She was runner-up to Key Biscayne in the G3 Robert Dick Memorial at Delaware Park last month. She’s been keeping some elite company, running in graded stakes in six of her last seven races dating back to last October.

Duvet Day drew the outside post. She’s bringing a two race win streak into the CTT & TOC. She broke her maiden at Churchill Downs in May and then shipped out to Del Mar and won an entry-level allowance. She’s trained by Michael McCarthy and owned by Jane and Burt Bacharach.

The field for the $100,000 CTT & TOC Stakes from the rail with jockeys: Scarabea (Declan Cannon); Freedom Lass (Tyler Baze); Neige Blanche; Almost A Factor (Joe Bravo); Macadamia (Ricardo Gonzalez); Sister Otoole (Umberto Rispoli); Bellamore (Martin Garcia), and Duvet Day (Abel Cedillo).

Notes: Bob Baffert reports that Havnameltdown came out of his G3 Best Pal victory on Sunday “really well.” He says the G1 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity on closing day, September 11 is an option right now…Notable works for Thursday: Dirt – Fast and Shiny (4f, 49.40); Beyond Brilliant (5f, 1:00.80), and War At Sea (6f, 1:13.00). Turf – Leggs Galore (3f, 37.60), and None Above the Law (4f, 50.00). A total of 80 horses put in official works on the dirt Thursday, 21 on the turf.

DMTC Press Release

Photo: Neige Blanche winning the 2021 CTT & TOC (Benoit Photo)

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