Irish-bred Going Global and jockey Flavien Prat pose for pictures after winning the Honeymoon Stakes
Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Clemente Stakes at Del Mar racetrack near San Diego, Calif., brings together a field of 12 fillies led by Going Global (IRE), who was imported from Ireland to the United States this winter and has since won four straight stakes on the turf including the Grade 3 Honeymoon Stakes in May.
Among the other 11 there are many with stakes credentials, including Madone, who won the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes in early May before a sixth-place finish in the Honeymoon. Closing Remarks has finished first or second in five of seven career races including when second and very close behind Going Global (IRE) in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes this past April. Karakatsie ships cross-country from Gulfstream Park where she just missed by a neck when second in the Martha Washington Stakes while Pizzazz attempts to rebound off a fifth-place effort in the Honeymoon and run more like she did just before that when winning the California Oaks in Northern California.
Another with a good effort in stakes is Nimbostratus (FR), who finished second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes last summer at Del Mar and finished third behind Going Global (IRE) in the Grade 3 Sweet Life Stakes this past February. Tetraganol (IRE) missed by a neck to Madone last October in the Surfer Girl Stakes and deserves some respect, as might California Oaks runner-up Freedom Flyer. Equilove (IRE) imported to the United States after five losing efforts in Ireland last year and has won two of three since then; while Jibber Jabber (IRE) was just second and beaten a half-length by Tetragonal (IRE) so may fit in this race as well. Founder’s Day and Dramatizer round out the field.
Nimbostratus (FR) is my pick to post the upset over likely heavy betting favorite Going Global (IRE) in this year’s San Clemente. After importing to the U.S. last summer, Nimbostratus (FR) showed she had a lot of talent when leading late and settling for second behind Madone in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar. After finishing second in a six-furlong allowance race on turf in January, Nimbostratus (FR) rallied for third behind Going Global (IRE) in the Sweet Life Stakes, then was a nose best in a six-furlong dash on the Santa Anita turf on March 6. Following a poor effort in the one-mile Senorita Stakes in May (won by Madone), Nimbostratus (FR) shortened up again and bettered her career-best with a 104 Equibase Speed Figure effort. Jockey Abel Cedillo was aboard for the first time in that race and rides back.
The latter race was an allowance/optional claiming race and I’m pretty sure no one expected Nimbostratus (FR) to be claimed as her price tag was $150,000, but she was. Now in the hands of up-and-coming trainer Leonard Powell, who saddled Flashiest to win the opening day Oceanside Stakes last week, Nimbostratus (FR) can win the San Clemente if she repeats that last effort as the 104 figure is on par with the figure favorite Going Global (IRE) earned in her most recent effort winning the Honeymoon Stakes.
Going Global (IRE) doesn’t need much talking up as she’s won four straight races since coming to the U.S. in February. All were stakes and her consistent figures of 99, 95 and 99 then most recently 104 show she’s holding top form. Trainer Phil D’Amato (who also saddles Equilove (IRE)) has given the filly a series of steady workouts since her last start on May 22 and as the most recent of those were on the Del Mar turf, this filly has every right to run another “A” race good enough to win under jockey Flavien Prat, who has been aboard for all four of her local wins.
Equilove (IRE) fits at the level and may be a horse at higher odds near post time given the nature of this full field. She’s never run in a stakes race but her last race was a 102 figure, earned when sprinting last month on turf, and demonstrates she fits with these as it’s nearly on par with the 104 figures Going Global (IRE) and Nimbostratus (FR) earned in their most recent races. Equilove (IRE) came to the U.S. over the fall and made her first start for D’Amato in March. She won that race nicely with a 94 figure, then stumbled at the start in her next race and lost all chance but still managed to finish fourth. Next was the breakout race last month in which she led from start to finish under jockey Ricardo Gonzalez, who rides her today. Considering Equilove (IRE) had won her first local start when fifth early and her most recent on the lead from start to finish, that kind of versatility bodes well for her chances to be in the mix at the end of this year’s San Clemente Stakes.
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Honorable mention, and some consideration for bets we make involving this race, goes to Madone, Karakatsie and Closing Remarks. Madone won the similar Senorita Stakes at a mile in May but the figure was just 89 so she would need to improve to be competitive. However, she won the first three starts of her career including two stakes, one at Del Mar, so that type of improvement is not out of the question. Karakatsie ran the best race of her career last month when second and beaten a neck in the Martha Washington Stakes at Gulfstream Park, earning a 98 figure. She is on a pattern for more improvement in her third start off a layoff and she is sired by Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie so may have what it takes to be in the mix here. Closing Remarks has finished first or second in five of seven races including her last four. All four were stakes on turf and in one of those, the Providencia Stakes, Closing Remarks was only a neck behind Going Global (IRE) so she has shown enough to be respected when considering exacta wagers in this race.
The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is Dramatizer (80), Founder’s Day (83), Freedom Flyer (84), Jibber Jabber (IRE) (88), Pizzazz (89) and Tetragonal (IRE) (93).
San Clemente Stakes –$200,000, Grade 2
Race 10 at Del Mar, Saturday, July 24, Post Time 9:30 p.m. ET
One Mile on Turf; Fillies, Three Years Old
Going Global (IRE)
Ellis Starr is national racing analyst for Equibase
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