March 30, 2023

Superstition stays perfect on Del Mar turf in Daisycutter

Superstition runs out a handy winner of the Daisycutter H. at Del Mar © BENOIT PHOTO

A return to the Del Mar turf helped Superstition return to the winner’s circle in Sunday’s $90,380 Daisycutter H. Later in the $152,000 California Dreamin’ S., popular eight-year-old Brandothebartender captured his third Cal-restricted stakes of the season.

Daisycutter H.

Late-blooming Superstition extended her record over this course to a perfect 3-for-3, all at five grassy furlongs. That profile could be significant come November, when the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) is staged at this track and trip.

Trained by Richard Mandella for Ramona Bass and her son, Perry Bass II, Superstition ranked as the 2-1 Daisycutter favorite. The well-bred Ghostzapper filly, who scored maiden and allowance wins here last fall, brought stakes credentials from Santa Anita. In her stakes debut in the Jan. 9 Las Cienegas (G3), she was elevated to third via disqualification. Superstition progressed to take the Feb. 15 Wishing Well over Oleksandra before placing second in the April 17 Mizdirection and third in the June 5 Monrovia (G2).

The cutback at Del Mar helped, as did the well-judged ride by Flavien Prat. Instead of getting embroiled or chasing too close to the pace, as in her recent losses, Prat eased her a few lengths back, in tactics reminiscent of the Wishing Well.

Meanwhile, the 2.40-1 Bulletproof One burned off two pace rivals through fractions of :22.17 and :44.89 and opened up by two lengths in midstretch. A fresh Superstition angled out from her observation post and blew by Bulletproof One to win by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths in :56.89.

Bulletproof One ran well in her belated reappearance, just tiring late and losing second on the wire to deep-closing Querelle, a fellow Peter Miller trainee. But Bulletproof One salvaged third by a nose from Gypsy Spirit. Constantia, who had beaten Superstition in their last two, rallied from last to take fifth in the 10-distaffer field.

Superstition has now bankrolled $244,140 from her 10-4-3-2 line. An $850,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, the Win Star-bred is a full sister to Grade 3-winning sprinter Gloryzapper. Their dam, Grand Glory, is a daughter of Distorted Humor and Grade 1-placed multiple stakes scorer Royally Chosen.

According to Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen, Superstition is targeting the Sept. 11 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3).

California Dreamin’ S.

Prat nearly made it four wins on the card in Sunday’s richest race, thanks to a dashing early move aboard Indian Peak. Umberto Rispoli immediately pursued him with Brandothebartender, who kept finding down the lane to nab him by a half-length.

Indian Peak had been reserved well back in eighth through splits of :23.83 and :48.78, with Brandothebartender behind him. Leaving the backstretch, however, Prat sensed the slow pace, and the opportunity to strike a blow. Indian Peak rushed up to wrest command by the six-furlong mark in 1:13.85. The stalking Wound Tight hustled to respond, while early leader Desmond Doss retreated. Defending champion Galilean, the slight 3.70-1 favorite in his comeback, got shuffled back from an ostensibly good position on the inside and didn’t have much of a chance to regroup.

Indian Peak appeared to have stolen a march on the field, and only Brandothebartender was able to counter his move. The Craig Dollase veteran clocked 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.55 and paid $11.40 as a 4.70-1 chance.

North County Guy, among those having to scramble in reaction, closed to nip Wound Tight for third. Fifth-placer Margot’s Boy just lasted by a nose from Galilean, who was a better-than-appears sixth of 10.

“I love this horse,” Rispoli enthused regarding Brandothebartender. “I know him better than my son! It’s unbelievable. He’s such a cool horse to ride. You can do anything with him – sprint, long, grass, in front, come from the back. He does it all. You just ask him and he does it.

“Somehow I knew Flavien (on Indian Peak) was going to make that early lead, so I said ‘I’m following him.’ Then my horse did his thing. So much fun to win on him for his wonderful ownership group and to win here at Del Mar. It’s all the best.”

Dollase likewise spoke of Brandothebartender’s owners – Jerry Weseloh’s Flawless Racing, Brian Flanagan, and Michael Jarvis.

“The owners are just a great bunch of people; we were so lucky to get this horse two years ago off the claim (for $40,000) and he has been a gem. He’s such a fighter in the lane and he did it again. He’s eight and he doesn’t know it.” 

Indeed, Brandothebartender is having his best stakes campaign ever with wins in the March 21 Sensational Star and April 24 Crystal Water at Santa Anita. His only prior stakes score had come in the 2018 California Flag H. The Tribal Rule gelding sports a mark of 46-9-7-15, $772,864, including 12 stakes placings.

Bred by John Haagsma and Wesley Ward in the Golden State, Brandothebartender is a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Lost Bus. They are out of the Stravinsky mare Frysland from the immediate family of multiple Grade 2 victor Unfinished Symph.