Splitting horses at the top of the stretch under Victor Espinoza,4-5 favorite Sunset Glow won Saturday's Grade 1 $300,000 Del Mar Debutante, giving the daughter of Exchange Rate her second consecutive graded stakes victory of the Del Mar meeting for trainer Wesley Ward and owner Ten Broeck Farm.
Her Emmynency rallied to get second, beaten a neck under Joe Talamo, with Conquest Eclipse third and Dad's Princess fourth in the field of nine 2-year-old fillies.
Time of the race for seven furlongs on Polytrack was 1:23.12.
Windy Forecast and Seduire battled for the early lead, with Seduire setting the early fractions of :21.96 and :44.75 for the opening half-mile. Sunset Glow settled in along the rail in fifth, then found a seam to make her run as the field hit the top of the stretch. She held the lead a furlong out, the six furlongs in 1:09.99, then was fully extended to the wire to hold sway.
Sunset Glow debuted on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs in May, finishing second, then broke her maiden at Belmont Park on turf June 6. She took an overseas excursion to Royal Ascot, where she finished second in the Group 3 Albany Stakes, a top early-season race in England that drew a field of 21 fillies. She then won the Sorrento Aug. 6 by 3 1/4 lengths.
She's won three of five starts, with two seconds, for earnings of $377,645.
Bred by Gayla Rankin and GLR Ranch in Kentucky, Sunset Glow is out of the Dynaformer mare Perfectforthepart. She sold twice at Keeneland: first as weanling, when Stonereath Stud bought her from Three Chimneys for $60,000 at the November breeding stock sale, then at the September yearling sale, when Ben McElroy, agent, paid $140,000 to purchase her from Eaton Sales, agent. David Mowat of Woodinville, Wash., owns Ten Broeck Farm.
Post-race quotes, courtesy Del Mar media office:
VICTOR ESPINOZA (Sunset Glow, winner) – “I took a chance with her today; I tried something different. Going seven eighths and seeing all the speed in there, I thought my best chance was to take her back and then make a run. I know she's been used to running up front, but I thought we'd have to come from the back. I'm sure glad it worked out. When you've got a favorite (4-5) like this, it's good when it works out. But she gives me confidence; she responds to what you want to do. There was never a doubt she would go through those holes. No hesitation. I'm proud of her for that. She got a little tired at the end, but she's the kind that will probably run on.”
JOE TALAMO (Her Emmynency, second) – “Oh, man, that was a tough beat. She ran great. She's a really nice filly.”
COREY NAKATANI (Conquest Eclipse, third) – “She ran dynamite. Mark (trainer Mark Casse) told me he thought she was a Grade I filly and to ride her that way. And he was spot on. I don't know that she was handling this track the best, but she still ran well. And I can't wait until they start running farther.”
MIKE SMITH (Dad's Princess, fourth) – “Terrific race for her. She needed one more (race). She made a great move to get up into contention, then she couldn't go on. I got her tired today and she'll be plenty tough next time.”
BLAKE HEAP, Assistant to Wesley Ward, (Sunset Glow, winner) – “It wasn't that big of a decision (Debutante over Futurity). Everything went well, she didn't need any extra time, so we decided to go right here. We thought we'd take her back behind horses this time, let her sit behind the speed a little bit. I was wondering if Victor (Espinoza) would be able to squeeze through there for a little while, but he made it. She'll go back to Kentucky now and Wesley will decide what to do with her next.”
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