Songbird, Nyquist Attempt To Remain Undefeated In G1 Chandelier, FrontRunner

by | 09.24.2015 | 4:27pm
Jockey Mike Smith guides Songbird to the winner's circle after their victory in the 2015 Del Mar Debutante

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's undefeated Songbird will face Bob Baffert's Pretty N Cool as well as Doug O'Neill's Land Over Sea among a field of nine 2-year-old fillies Saturday in the Grade I, $300,000 Chandelier Stakes at going 1 1/16 miles.

Songbird, owned by Fox Hill Farms, will be seeking her third win in a row. After breaking her maiden over the new dirt track at Del Mar by six and a half lengths on July 26, Songbird went on to win impressively once again as the nearly even money favorite in the Grade I, Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 5. The five and a quarter-length win prompted regular rider Mike Smith to note, “For a big mare, things just come so easy for her.”

The bay filly by Medaglia d'Oro had her most recent work Monday, going a half mile under Smith in 47 1/5 on Santa Anita's main track, second fastest of 68 at the distance. She is 2-2-0-0 lifetime with $222,000 in earnings.

Pretty N Cool comes off a game second in the Del Mar Debutante and draws the rail for Saturday. The Scat Daddy filly broke her maiden at first asking in a maiden special weight at Del Mar on July 19 and followed that with an impressive win as the odds-on favorite in the Grade II Sorrento Stakes Aug. 12.

The dark gray owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman was purchased at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sales for $160,000 and is 3-2-1-0 overall with $222,000 in earnings.

Land Over Sea enters the Chandelier off a third place finish in the Debutante. The Debutante marked a return to dirt after her win in a seven furlong turf maiden special weight. The chestnut filly by Bellamy Road's first start came in a five and a half furlong maiden special weight test at Los Alamitos on July 12 when she ran second.

Land Over Sea will again be ridden by Mario Gutierrez. She is 3-1-1-1 overall with earnings of $88,000.

The complete field for the Grade I Chandelier Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on an 11-race card Saturday, with jockeys in post position order: Pretty N Cool, Martin Garcia; Halo Darlin, Tyler Baze; Vieja Luna, Juan Leyva; Yodelsong, Fernando Perez; Songbird, Mike Smith; Sheeza Milky Way, Rafael Bejarano; Land Over Sea, Mario Gutierrez; Jade Princess, Victor Espinoza; Right There, Kent Desormeaux. Each filly will carry 122 lbs.

Nyquist Faces Seven Challengers In G1 FrontRunner

A runaway winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 7, Reddam Racing's undefeated Nyquist looms a short priced favorite as he tries two turns for the first time Saturday in Santa Anita's Grade I, $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes, which has attracted a field of eight juveniles and will be contested at 1 1/16 miles.

Trained by Doug O'Neill, the bay colt by Uncle Mo followed up on a gutty first-out maiden win going five furlongs at Santa Anita with impressive wins in both the Grade II Best Pal Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs Aug. 8 and the seven furlong Del Mar Futurity—winning both stakes by a combined nine lengths.

Ridden in all three starts by Mario Gutierrez, Nyquist will attempt to follow in the footsteps of last year's FrontRunner winner, eventual Triple Crown Champ American Pharoah. Off at 7-1 in his debut, Nyquist was bet down to even money in the Best Pal and was hammered to 1-2 favoritism in the Del Mar Futurity. He has earnings of $333,600.

Second to Nyquist in both the Del Mar Futurity and Best Pal Stakes, trainer Keith Desormeaux's Swipe will try to turn the tables on the top selection in his first try around two turns. Owned by Big Chief Racing, LLC, Swipe should be forwardly placed under Kent Desormeaux as he guns for his second win in six starts. A Kentucky-bred colt by Birdstone, Swipe is 5-1-3-1 with earnings of $188,330.

A rousing 4 ¼ length first-out maiden winner going five furlongs over a sloppy strip Aug. 2, Blameitonthelaw was subsequently third, beaten eight lengths by Nyquist in the Del Mar Futurity. Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Tyler Baze in both starts, the Kentucky-bred colt by Blame will also try two turns for the first time for owner Doubledown Stables, Inc.

A winner of the one mile Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes Sept. 5, Rockingham Ranch's Hollywood Don will try the main track for the first time in the FrontRunner. Trained by Peter Miller, the Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit has two wins from three starts, all in company with Brice Blanc.

A one mile maiden special weight winner for owner Arnold Zetcher on Aug. 26 at Del Mar, On Fire, who is a Kentucky-bred colt by the A.P. Indy stallion Friesan Fire, pressed the pace en route to a half length win under Gary Stevens, who rides back for trainer Simon Callaghan. On Fire will make his third start in the FrontRunner.

The complete field for the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes, to be run as the fifth race on an 11-race card Saturday with jockeys and weights in post position order: Go Long, Fernando Perez; On Fire, Gary Stevens; Blameitonthelaw, Tyler Baze; Nyquist, Mario Gutierrez; Hollywood Don, Brice Blanc; Rare Candy, Joseph Talamo; Swipe, Kent Desormeaux; Mt Veeder, Martin Garcia. All horses will carry 122 lbs.

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