Poised to top the $1-million mark in earnings, Paradise Woods tops a field of seven entered at Del Mar for Sunday's Grade I $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff.
A 5-year-old daughter of Union Rags owned by HS Stable and Pam and Marty Wygod, Paradise Woods enters the 1 1/16-mile main track event for older fillies and mares with $985,890 in earnings from four wins and 10 on-the-board finishes in 15 career starts.
Trained by John Sherriffs, Paradise Woods has one win in four 2019 starts, all in Grade 1 or Grade 2 events. The victory was by an impressive 10 ½ lengths in the G2 Santa Margarita in April at Santa Anita.
Four of Paradise Woods' five rivals have extensive Southern California circuit backgrounds. Coming in from the east and making her Del Mar debut is Spring in the Wind, a 5-year-old Canadian-bred mare owned by Ron Paolucci and trained by Bob Hess, Jr.
“It's a good opportunity for a Grade I placing for her,” Hess said. “We took the blinkers off her, so we think she'll be able to relax and get the distance. She's got speed, but with the blinkers off, I think she'll be able to relax.”
The field from the rail: La Force (Drayden Van Dyke), Just a Smidge (Martin Garcia), Secret Spice (Flavien Prat), Ollie's Candy (Kent Desormeaux), Paradise Woods (Mike Smith), Queen Bee To You (Ruben Fuentes) and Spring in the Wind (Rafael Bejarano).
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