DEL MAR, Calif.— Six double quick fillies and mares are set to do some high stepping Sunday at Del Mar in the 51st edition of the Rancho Bernardo Handicap. The delicious distaff spin includes the defending champ in the six and a half-panel headliner; a multiple-stakes winner out of the Bob Baffert barn; a rocket ship in from New Mexico who ran the fastest six furlongs of the current meet, and an up-and-coming 3-year-old who’ll get her sternest test yet.
The Grade III headliner carries a $150,000 purse and a nice piece of black type for its winner. It goes as Race 8 on the day’s nine-race card with a post time of approximately 5:33 p.m.
Last year’s winner, Hronis Racing’s Edgeway, is back for another go and has been training forwardly for conditioner John Sadler for her first outing in three and a half months. The 5-year-old mare by the Super Saver stallion Competitive Edge has been well spotted throughout her three years at the racetrack, winning seven of her 12 starts and $663,860. She won this race last year by a length, then followed it up with a good second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, held at Del Mar on November 6. Del Mar’s leading rider, Juan Hernandez, has the call on the classy veteran Sunday.
Baoma Corp’s Private Mission, a 4-year-old Into Mischief filly, has won half of her 10 outings and over $400,000 in purses. She’s been running two-turn races of late, but Hall of Famer Baffert shortens her up for this and has named Hall of Famer Mike Smith to do the riding.
The New Mexico filly is Fincher Racing, King or Kirby’s Slammed, a 4-year-old daughter of the Bernardini sire Marking bred by her connections in the Land of Enchantment and trained by owner/breeder Todd Fincher. Last year she raced exclusively in New Mexico, winning seven of her nine starts, often by open lengths in fast time. She tried her luck in California last start – July 28 in an allowance race at Del Mar – and won for fun in very fast time. This will be her toughest test yet, but her wicked speed must be fully respected.
The 3-year-old in the dash is Dance to the Music, a chestnut by Maclean’s Music who’ll be looking for her first stakes tally. The Mark Glatt trainee is owned by Red Barons Barn or Ranch Temescal and will need to do her very best to be competitive with this salty bunch.
Here’s the full field in post-position order with riders, weight and morning line odds:
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Empire House (Ricky Gonzalez up, 117 pounds, 20-1); 5th Street Stables, Saldana or Urbina’s Cover Version (Ryan Curatolo, 117, 20-1); Dance to the Music (Abel Cedillo, 117, 5-1); Slammed (Drayden Van Dyke, 120, 8/5); Edgeway (123, 7/5), and Private Mission (122, 3-1).
First post for the Sunday card is 2 p.m.
Del Mar Press Release
Photo: Edgeway, (Benoit Photo)