DEL MAR, Calif.—Gainesway Stable’s classy Spendarella, shipped west to seek Grade I gold in Saturday’s $304,000 Del Mar Oaks, got what she came after in impressive fashion, sitting third in a perfect stalking spot for jockey Tyler Gaffalione until the quarter pole, then firing in the lane to come away a four and a half-length winner.
The daughter of Karakontie, trained by eastern-based H. Graham Motion, never looked anything but a winner in the 66th edition of the nine-furlong grass test as she cleared the traffic in the 13-horse lineup of 3-year-old fillies early, then just waited for the ‘go’ signal from her rider in registering her first Grade I victory.
“When he got the nice spot coming in the bend and she relaxed it was like, if she’s good enough, she’s going to win. And then when she kicked for home and left them, that was pretty incrediblem,” commented Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer H. Graham Motion.
She ran the distance in a good 1:47.09 to pick up a first prize of $180,000 and push her earnings mark to $596,459. It was only the fifth career start for the bay miss, but her fourth victory and her third stakes score. Her previous outing had her running second to the top European filly Inspiral at Ascot in England in June.
“I had a terrific trip. She broke alertly and we took up a good spot behind the speed. When we cleared the chute, she dropped the bit and relaxed. She’s special. I have to give Graham (trainer H. Graham Motion) and his team all the credit. I’m just happy I got to ride her. I don’t get to ride too many like her,” remarked Gaffalione.
Nentwig, Agave Racing Stable or CYBT, et al’s Bellabel finished willingly to take second, a length and a quarter better than Schroeder Farms or David Bernsen’s Cairo Memories.
The victory completed a nice west coast double for trainer Motion. He had shipped his mare Sister Otoole with Spendarella and saw the older horse score by half a length Friday in Del Mar’s $100,000 CTT & TOC overnight stakes at 11 furlongs on the grass.
Spendarella, the 6/5 favorite in the Oaks, returned $4.40, $3.20 and $2.40 across the board. Bellabel paid $4.00 and $2.80, while Cairo Memories returned $3.00.
Motion previously had won the Del Mar Oaks in 2011 with Summer Soiree. It was his seventh stakes win at Del Mar. Gaffalione was scoring his second seaside stakes triumph.
Racing will resume at Del Mar Sunday with first post at 2 p.m.
DMTC Press Release
Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire