April 17, 2024

Elm Drive, Eda face new challengers in Del Mar Debutante

Elm Drive and jockey Juan Hernandez, right, outleg Eda, left, to win the Sorrento Stakes (Photo by Benoit Photo)

Two-year-old fillies are in the spotlight in Del Mar’s Sunday stakes, with the $100,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf serving as a warm-up act for the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante S. (G1).

Del Mar Debutante (G1) – Race 10 (9 p.m. ET)

Elm Drive and Eda, who engaged in a terrific duel in the Aug. 6 Sorrento (G2), renew rivalry over an extra furlong in the Debutante. The seven-furlong trip doesn’t figure to be the key factor, since Elm Drive is by Mohaymen and Eda is a daughter of Munnings and a Lemon Drop Kid mare. Rather, their positions through the race could hold greater bearing for the rematch.

In the Sorrento, Elm Drive got first run, and the Phil D’Amato pupil refused to let her rival pass. The Bob Baffert-trained Eda had to ease back before swinging out in pursuit. Now Eda gets a rider switch to Hall of Famer John Velazquez. She’s still drawn inside, landing in post 2, while Elm Drive is in post 3.

Yet the Debutante isn’t a two-horse race. Baffert, seeking his 10th Debutante trophy, also has regally bred Grace Adler. A $700,000 yearling purchase, the daughter of Curlin won at first asking sprinting five furlongs. The added ground can only help, and leading rider Flavien Prat stays aboard.

Mark Glatt sends out flashy debut winner Dance to the Music, a $575,000 Maclean’s Music filly who rolled over Bicameral. Unbeaten California-bred At the Spa rides a three-race winning streak, including the Fasig-Tipton Debutante S. and the CTBA S. in her latest. Myfavoritedaughter ran away by 25 lengths in an off-the-turf maiden at Gulfstream Park, and Rock the Belles steps up from a $150,000 maiden claiming victory here.

Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf – Race 9 (8:30 p.m. ET)

D’Amato is triple-handed in the one-mile contest, held over the same course and distance as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Helens Well broke her maiden in her stateside debut here Aug. 15. Fellow Irish import Sea Breezing won her lone start at Down Royal, while Sax tries turf following a remote fourth in the Sorrento.

Other course-and-distance maiden winners in the line-up are Into Touring, Dendera, and Distorted Diva (via disqualification). Miss Bellatrix scored going a mile at Santa Anita, and Limerick debut victress Dolly May makes her U.S. premiere. Urban, a three-quarter sister to champion Abel Tasman, stretches out from a third in a turf sprint for Simon Callaghan. La Deuxieme Etoile was runner-up to Into Touring, and Liam’s Dove was third to Helens Well last out.