DEL MAR, Calif.— Gainesway Thoroughbreds Spendarella has only raced four times in her career but she has made quite an impression. So much so that the daughter of Karakonite ships in to Del Mar this week as the probable favorite in the 66th running of the G1 Del Mar Oaks this Saturday at Del Mar.
Spendarella won her first three races. Not by open lengths like a Flightline, but with an eye-catching turn of foot that one couldn’t help but notice. She broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park in South Florida, then went out and won the G3 Herecomesthebride turf mile. She shipped up to Keeneland in April and won the G2 Appalachian, also at a mile on the turf.
Her performances were so impressive, the connections decided to take a shot at Royal Ascot in June. She didn’t win, but she certainly did not disappoint, finishing second to Inspiral in the Coronation Stakes. Inspiral followed up that victory with a Group I score over colts at Deauville in France last Sunday.
Since Spendarella has returned to the States she has put in three solid works at Fair Hill, an all-weather training facility in Maryland. Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion, explains why they’re making the trip out west with their prized filly.
“The race fits into her schedule for when she ran at Ascot,” Clapham says, “and with this being a Grade I as well.”
Spendarella arrived at Del Mar earlier this week.
“She had a good flight out,” Clapham notes. “Everything went smoothly and she’s trained nicely the last two days. We galloped her a mile yesterday (Wednesday) and a mile and a quarter today.”
Spendarella has proven she can run on any track.
“She’s very laid back and everything,” Clapham says, “so the traveling, so far, doesn’t seem to affect her, she seems to take it all in stride.”
She’ll have her hands full on Saturday with a full field expected for the Oaks. Trainer Phil D’Amato brings a quartet of horses from his barn. Bellabel, Sixteen Arches and Island of Love were the top three finishers in the G2 San Clemente at Del Mar on opening weekend, and Rhea Moon prepped with a third-place finish in an allowance race locally on July 24.
Bob Hess, Jr. will run Cairo Memories, winner of a pair of Grade 3 races at Santa Anita this past spring before shipping back east to take a crack at the top 3-year-old fillies in New York in the G1 Belmont Oaks. She set the pace before finishing fifth there.
The G1 Del Mar Oaks will be run as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10-race card.
Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys: Rhea Moon (Ramon Vasquez); Bellabel (Umberto Rispoli); Island of Love (Juan Hernandez); Lucky Girl (Ryan Curatolo); Cairo Memories (Mike Smith); Tezzaray (Hector Berrios); Sixteen Arches (Abel Cedillo); Gracelund Gray (Joe Bravo); Txope (Florent Geroux); Gold Dragon Queen (Armando Ayuso); Spendarella (Tyler Gaffalione); Ballet Dancing (Drayden Van Dyke); Lady T (Victor Espinoza), and Lady Clementine (Mario Gutierrez).
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: Spendarella wins the G2 Appalachian at Keeneland (Keeneland Photo)