DEL MAR, Calif.— While winning the Sorrento Stakes is not a guarantee of racing immortality, it’s certainly a nice jump-off point for future stars of the sport. The six-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies has been won by such gems as Brave Raj, Lite Light, Silverbulletday, Chilukki and Bellafina. Last year’s edition was won by Elm Drive.
The 54th running of Saturday’s G2 Sorrento Stakes has a field of seven, three of whom come from the Doug O’Neill barn. He rolls out Vegas Magic, Satin Doll, and Absolute Zero, all undefeated so far in their young careers.
Aldabbagh, Cady or Leatherman’s Vegas Magic broke her maiden at Santa Anita in June and then ventured up to Pleasanton and won the Everett Nevin Stakes by a nose over Fumano’s Girl, who came back last week and ran sixth in the CTBA Stakes at Del Mar.
“She’s shown she can win up near the pace and way off the pace,” O’Neill says. “I’m just excited and optimistic for a big effort.”
“As a team we just huddle up and look for when she’s best ready and the best opportunity,” O’Neill said. “I think another week did her good and it’s a $200,000 Grade 2. I think that’s a great opportunity for her to get graded placed and a graded win.”
Absolutely Zero defeated the boys in the Fasig Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita in June. The daughter of Nyquist has some heavy hitters in her corner. She’s owned and bred by Paul Reddam of Reddam Racing, she’s trained by O’Neill and she’ll be ridden by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez. She’s undefeated after two races and was the favorite in both of her races.
O’Neill also has The Del Mar Group’s Satin Doll, who won a maiden special race at first asking on opening weekend at Del Mar. She’ll have a different rider this time around. Ramon Vasquez takes over for Kyle Frey.
“That was unintentional,” O’Neill pointed out. “I had told the rider (Frey) and his agent that we would wait until the Debutante to run her and then after her last work we switched it up and he had already committed. That was my bad.”
Frey ends up on Rick or Sharon Waller’s Dazzlingdominika, who broke her maiden last out at Churchill Downs. She comes out of the Phillip D’Amato barn and is one of the ones in the field capable of giving the O’Neill trio a good challenge.
There’s also Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Procrastination, from the Michael McCarthy barn. She won by eight lengths at first asking at Los Alamitos.
Diamond 100 Racing Club’s Infinite Diamond finished second in her debut at Gulfstream Park, but according to assistant trainer Andie Biancone, she’s the “bullet” in the barn.
The G2 Sorrento is the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race card. Here’s the field from the rail with jockeys: Procrastination (Ricky Gonzalez); Vegas Magic (Abel Cedillo); Dazzlingdominika; Classymademoiselle (Tyler Baze); Satin Doll; Absolutely Zero and Infinite Diamond (Ryan Curatolo).
Notes: Jockey Tyler Baze is scheduled to appear before the stewards Friday after not showing up for work Thursday. He was taken off his remaining five mounts after he missed the first race and, according to Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form, failed to call the stewards until the seventh race…Trainer Leonard Powell says his multiple-graded stakes winner Neige Blanche will return to defend her title in the CTT & TOC Stakes next Friday. The French-bred has won four-of-her-last-five races dating back to last fall’s G3 Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar…Flightline is expected to put in his weekly work Saturday morning. Trainer John Sadler says he will have his undefeated colt out on the track around 6:30 AM. Flightline is being pointed to the G1 TVG Pacific Classic September 3…Notable works for Friday: Dirt – Forbidden Kingdom (3f, 36:40); High Connection (4f, 48.60); Express Train (5f, 1:01.40); Heywoods Beach (5f, 1:01.40); In all, 160 horses put in official works Friday.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Absolutely Zero winning the Fasig-Tipton Futurity (Benoit Photo)