Del Mar Oaks (G1) — Race 8 (8:30 p.m. ET)
Spendarella suffered her first career defeat at her most recent race in June, but the quality of her effort that day makes her the three-year-old filly to beat Saturday in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1).
Victorious in her first three outings this year, including the Herecomesthebride (G3) and Appalachian (G2), Spendarella next took on some of the world’s best in the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot. Although lightly-regarded by overseas bettors, Spendarella outran expectations by finishing second, beating to the wire several of Europe’s top classic milers.
The one she did not beat was Inspiral, who landed the Coronation by 4 3/4 lengths. That rival has since developed into one of the top milers on the continent, regardless of age and sex, capturing the prestigious Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville last week.
The Graham Motion-trained Spendarella will break from post 11 in a field of 14 in the Del Mar Oaks, which is run over 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
The only other filly in the lineup that has yet to start on the Southern California circuit is Txope, a recent arrival to the barn of John Sadler. Txope enters with three wins from 12 starts, including a last-out win in the June 12 German 1000 Guineas (G1) at Dusseldorf.
Bellabel, a former European mainstay herself, is 2-for-2 since arriving in California, with wins in the Blue Norther S. in January and the San Clemente (G2) last month. In the latter, she defeated returning rivals Sixteen Arches and Island of Love. All three are trained by Phil D’Amato.
Shortening up after weakening to fifth in the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Oaks (G1) is Cairo Memories, who previously landed the Providencia (G3) and Honeymoon (G3) at Santa Anita during the spring. Tezzaray, who was making her first start since winning the Jimmy Durante (G3) last November in the July 23 San Clemente, met with late interference in that one-mile test and figures to move forward off of it.