Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) – Race 9 (9 p.m. ET)
The only one to edge division leader Letruska this season, Shedaresthedevil is also the lone shipper in Sunday’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) at Del Mar. The Brad Cox filly comes in from her summer home at Ellis Park for this “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Shedaresthedevil, who famously upset champions Swiss Skydiver and Gamine in the 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1), got off to a superb start as a four-year-old. After holding off Letruska by a head in the March 13 Azeri (G2) at Oaklawn, she added the April 30 La Troienne (G1) in similar frontrunning fashion at Churchill Downs. Shedaresthedevil did not beat Letruska to the lead last time in the June 5 Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park, and ended up fading to third. Back around two turns in the 1 1/16-mile affair here, the Daredevil filly is also tactically drawn in the outside post 7 with Florent Geroux.
Her main rivals, As Time Goes By and Venetian Harbor, have the class along with a question mark. The Bob Baffert-trained As Time Goes By has won four of her last five, and that loss was a runner-up effort to Swiss Skydiver in the March 13 Beholder Mile (G1). But her latest score was a desperate nose decision as the 2-5 favorite in the May 22 Santa Maria (G2), a far more workmanlike chore than her prior romp in the Santa Margarita (G2). The blueblood daughter of American Pharoah and Take Charge Lady will need to be back to her best to maintain her winning habit on Sunday.
Venetian Harbor enters in sharp form for Richard Baltas off a comeback victory in the June 5 Monrovia (G2). Yet that turf sprint renewed her profile as a one-turn specialist who can be vulnerable to a high-class opponent going longer. While Venetian Harbor outclassed them in last year’s Las Virgenes (G2) over a mile, the Munnings filly was subsequently second in both the Fantasy (G3) and Ashland (G1) at this distance. If she’s strengthened with maturity, however, and can carry her speed farther, Venetian Harbor rates a top threat.
The other graded winner in the field, multiple Grade 3 turfiste Warren’s Showtime, is uncertain to run, according to Daily Racing Form. Most recently successful in the Wilshire (G3), the versatile Craig Lewis runner has won on dirt too, in last summer’s Cal-restricted Melair. Rounding out the cast are multiple Grade 3-placed Paige Anne, representing Simon Callaghan and Flavien Prat; Clockstrikestwelve, a distant second in the She’s a Tiger S. at Pleasanton but previously well beaten in both the Beholder Mile and Santa Margarita; and the even more class-challenged Cover Version, better suited to starter allowance company.