From Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
Del Mar’s action-packed Labor Day Holiday weekend of Thoroughbred racing continues Sunday with another stakes doubleheader featuring two highly-competitive Grade II events, the $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes for older fillies and mares and the $250,000 Del Mar Derby for three-year-olds.
The 2016 Del Mar meeting comes to a climax Monday when the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity for two-year-olds will have its 69th running. California Chrome, leading money-winner in North American history, was a troubled sixth in the 2013 Futurity and went on to win the Kentucky Derby among significant subsequent successes as did Futurity winners American Pharoah and Nyquist in 2014 and ’15. American Pharoah, of course, achieved racing immortality by sweeping the Triple Crown.
The John C. Mabee Stakes, honoring the late, long-time chairman of the board of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, drew a dozen distaff runners – Gloryzapper (Edwin Maldonado), Nancy from Nairobi (Mike Smith), Elektrum (Victor Espinoza), Queen of the Sand (Gary Stevens), Personal Diary (Drayden Van Dyke), Sobradora Inc (Rafael Bejarano), Fresh Feline (Santiago Gonzalez), Avenge (Flavien Prat), Finest City (Kent Desormeaux), Keri Belle (Norberto Arroyo, Jr.), Havanna Belle (Tyler Baze) and Prize Exhibit (Jamie Theriot).
Morning line favorite in the Mabee is the Argentine-bred Sobradora Inc, impressive winner of the Osunitas Stakes in her American debut this summer. Elektrum and Queen of the Sand were first and second, respectively, a year ago in the race.
The Del Mar Derby brought out a talent-laden field of 14 three-year-olds, with Lucky Bryan a lukewarm pre-race betting choice. Espinoza rides Lucky Bryan, beaten a half-length by Derby hopeful Free Rose in the La Jolla Handicap.
Opposing Lucky Bryan and Free Rose, who will have Arroyo aboard Sunday, will be Gold Rush Dancer (Prat), Blackjackcat (Smith), Mr. Roary (Maldonado), Moonlight Drive (Bejarano), I’malreadythere (Tiago Pereira), Curlin Rules (Baze), Arcature (Martin Garcia), Monster Bea (Stevens), Dressed in Hermes (Desormeaux), Trojan Nation (Van Dyke), Ralis (Mario Gutierrez) and Diplodocus (Theriot). On an also-eligible list are Ebadan (Gonzalez) and Materialistic (Iggy Puglisi).
The Mabee Stakes is carded as the sixth race, while the Del Mar Derby will be the eighth on a ten-race program Sunday. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m.