In retrospect the results weren't that surprising. But the stages on which trainer John Sadler pulled off upsets to record two of his three stakes victories during the meeting were of the magnitude for him to wear the cloak of “spoiler” quite proudly.
First there was Stellar Wind ending Beholder's eight-race winning streak in the Clement L. Hirsch, a portent of another runner-up effort by Beholder later in the $1 million TVG Classic.
Then came Accelerate's victory in the Shared Belief Stakes as the 9-5 second choice to Who's Out, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who also handled the champion for whom the race had been renamed this year.
And now, Sadler is lurking outside the spotlight with Morganite, the 7-2 co-third choice in Saturday's $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Debutante. Sorrento Stakes winner Champagne Room (2-1) is the favorite on oddsmaker Russ Hudak's morning line with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's duo of American Cleopatra (5-2) and Noted and Quoted (7-2).
Seven were entered for the Debutante but there is expected to be at least one defection. Molly Pearson-trained Holy Mosey may scratch in favor of Monday's $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Baffert, Del Mar's all-time leader with 117 stakes victories, has seven Debutante wins and a strong chance at No. 8 with American Cleopatra, a full sister to 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, and Noted and Quoted, who won by 9 ½ lengths in her second career start, both here, on August 7.
Eurton won the Debutante in 2011 with Weemissfrankie, one year after Sadler, sixth all-time with 55 stakes victories, notched his only victory in the event with Tell a Kelly.
Morganite, a $360,000 purchase for Hronis Racing LLC at the Ocala sale in March, is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Gemologist who defeated Champagne Room by 1 ½ lengths in the racing debut for both here on July 16.
“She won on opening weekend and she's just been doing great all summer,” Sadler said. “Training consistently every week, and here she is. We think she's going to be good going long, and that's next.”
Her debut win was at five furlongs. The Debutante is at seven furlongs. With success, the likely progression would be to the Grade I $300,000 Chandelier Stakes on Saturday, October 1 at Santa Anita and the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 5 there.
Victor Espinoza, aboard for the debut, is back for the Debutante.
“I'll leave it up to Victor, but I imagine he'll read the break and decide what to do,” Sadler said. “If somebody goes (for the lead) he'll sit second. If nobody goes, he'll take it himself.”
The Debutante field from the rail: : Miss Southern Miss (Kent Desormeaux, 8-1), Morganite (Victor Espinoza, 7-2), American Cleopatra (Rafael Bejarano, 5-2), Champagne Room (Mario Gutierrez, 2-1), Noted and Quoted (Mike Smith, 7-2), Holy Mosey (Giuseppe Ercegovic, 30-1) and Union Strike (Martin Garcia, 15-1).
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