Selections for $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1)

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By Frank R. Scatoni, editor of The HorsePlayer Magazine.

THE RACE $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Race 9 (Saturday, September 1, 2012: post time: 9:00 p.m./ET; 6:00 p.m./PT) 7-furlongs on the main Polytrack (3-year-old fillies) It’s that time of year when 2-year-olds get to strut their best stuff, and what better way to have a coming-out party than at Del Mar in the 7-furlong Del Mar Debutante (G1). Nine fillies go for the gold in this $300,000 race, and no doubt, the winner will be considered an early choice for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), which will be held at Santa Anita in just a few months’ time. Of course, Bob Baffert has the likely favorite. Can she be beaten? #1 HEIR KITTY is a really nice filly. After breaking her maiden in a turf sprint at Betfair Hollywood Park, trainer Peter Miller (who has three entries in today’s race) tried her against the boys in the Best Pal (G2), where she ran a bang-up second. Unfortunately, she draws the rail today, so she’ll have to work out a trip, but she does have tactical speed, and the talent is definitely there. #2 PAT’S BACK is back in just a week’s time after wiring a field of maidens here on August 25. She looked very nice in victory, but keep in mind that she was loose on the lead on a speed-friendly track. She’ll have no such luxury today. #3 MISS EMPIRE, the second Miller trainee, has been outshined by her two stablemates, but she’s an honest lady that shows up for work every time she runs. She comes from off the pace, so if the race falls apart, she’s got a good chance to pick up the pieces—but she’s going to have to run a career best to win today. #4 SPEEDINTHRUTHECITY, the third Miller entrant, had the unfortunate luck of facing star-in-the-making EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE in the 6.5-furlong Sorrento (G3), where she ran a very nice race and wasn’t disgraced at 7/1. She was running on through the lane, and she gets an extra half-furlong to keep on grinding. She is a worthy contender. #5 WASTED AT MIDNIGHT was squeezed at the start and was way too far off the pace when finishing fifth in her debut race back on August 5. She closed with a rush, and I have a trip note that says she should be “interesting for next time”—but I wasn’t counting on “next time” being a stakes race against some really nice ladies. She adds blinkers, so she should get a better trip today, but I’ll like her much better when she’s back against maidens. #6 MECHAYA is sure to take a lot of money off her gaudy maiden-breaking Beyer of 93, which is the tops in the field. In that debut victory, she tracked the pace and quickened like a good thing to win going away at 5.5-furlongs. She has license to improve off that effort, and she is trained by the great John Sadler—who wins at a ridiculous 32 percent clip with 2-year-olds—but she had a perfect trip that day and is now facing much stiffer competition. Plus, jockey Rafael Bejarano sides with the favorite. Sure, she could win, but at the price she’ll be, I’m going to try to beat her. #7 RENEE’S TITAN tried her heart out in the Sorrento (G3), but she was no match for EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE and SPEEDINTHRUTHECITY. That was her first start for the Doug O’Neill barn, so she could improve off that effort—but she has a lot of lengths to find against the top two. #8 EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE, recent winner of the Sorrento (G3), is a perfect 3-for-3, and she’s been odds-on in all of her races. She has rewarded her backers every time, and it has become readily apparent that the $650,000 they paid for her back in April has been money well-spent. This gal is the real deal, and I see no reason why she shouldn’t run another big one on her way to Grade One glory. #9 BEHOLDER won like a very good thing in her second-career start for Hall-of-Fame trainer Richard Mandella, and the more Mandella trains her, the better she is likely to become. She has tactical speed and should get a perfect tracking trip under Garrett Gomez, so another step forward could definitely put her in the mix—but she’ll have to run a big one off that 5.5-furlong maiden-breaker to stamp herself as the best in the West. SELECTIONS 1. #8 EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE – She’s the queen until proven otherwise. 2. #1 HEIR KITTY – The rail draw is brutal, but she’s extremely talented. 3. #4 SPEEDINTHRUTHECITY – Needs to turn the tables on the top choice. LONG SHOT VALUE PLAY: #9 BEHOLDER – She gets a class test today, but Mandella wouldn’t run her if he felt she didn’t belong. WAGERING STRATEGY I think #8 EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE looks awfully tough on paper, so let’s play her on top of our other choices of #1 HEIR KITTY, #4 SPEEDINTHRUTHECITY, and #9 BEHOLDER in exactas ($15 exacta: 8 with 1,4,9). BANKROLL PLAY $50 win #8 EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE (Bankroll at +$573.25 after Week Forty-Five Based on $50 Wagers)

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