Debutante nominees abound in Wednesday maiden at Del Mar

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 18th, 2017

While Wednesday’s Oceanside will produce contenders for Del Mar’s graded turf stakes for three-year-olds, the La Jolla H. (G3) and Del Mar Derby (G2), the 5TH race on opening day puts the spotlight on Del Mar Debutante (G1) hopefuls.

The five-furlong sprint maiden (scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EDT) features a capacity field of 10, eight of whom are nominated to the Debutante, plus one also-eligible.

Let’s take a look at the Debutante nominees.

The Doug O’Neill-trained Tyfosha has been installed as the 5-2 favorite on the strength of her runner-up effort to Surrender Now, who came back to crush the Landaluce by eight lengths under wraps. Moreover, Tyfosha had actually been the 1-2 favorite in that Santa Anita maiden, where she was beaten two lengths while pulling 5 1/4 lengths clear of the third.

The Virginia-bred Flatter filly attracted attention at the OBS March under tack show by tying the bullet time of :9 4/5 for one furlong. Purchased for $410,000 by the trainer’s brother Dennis, Tyfosha is among the first batch of acquisitions for newcomer Zedan Racing Stables. The May 5 foal is a half-sister to Grade 2-placed Centrique and stakes-placed Bern Legacy. Their dam, multiple stakes scorer and Grade 3-placed Penny Marie (by Sky Classic) descends from influential matron Alpine Peak, albeit via a lesser branch.

Fracas (6-1) is the only other filly in the main body of the field with racing experience. Sent off as the even-money favorite in her debut, the Simon Callaghan pupil showed high speed, only to pay the price for an early duel and fade to third.

A $190,000 buy at OBS April, Fracas also equaled the bullet clocking of :10 during her under tack session. She is from the first crop of 2012 CashCall Futurity (G1) hero Violence (by Medaglia d'Oro), and her dam, the Grand Slam mare Palomanegra, is herself a winning half-sister to multiple Grade 3 victor Falling Sky.

The three most intriguing newcomers all represent Hall of Fame trainers.

Richard Mandella’s not overeager with firsters, as his 7 percent strike rate attests, but Ramona Bass’s Varanasi (7-2) might be an exception to his general pattern. The $385,000 Keeneland September yearling is by hot freshman sire Jimmy Creed. Himself a Mandella alum, Jimmy Creed is a Distorted Humor half-brother to multiple Grade 1 star Pussycat Doll who scored his signature win in the 2012 Malibu (G1). He’s already sired six winners from 12 starters, with 33 percent prevailing first time out (according to the Brisnet stats as of this writing).

That’s just half of the equation. Varanasi is a half-sister to 2014 Spinaway (G1) and Demoiselle (G2) heroine Condo Commando, out of multiple Grade 2 victress Yearly Report. Her work pattern suggests she’ll fire, especially her five furlongs in :58 4/5 back on June 27.

Bob Baffert’s debutante, Just a Smidge (3-1), smoked a quarter in a co-bullet :21 2/5 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May under tack show, and afterward commanded $425,000 from Donato Lanni. 


By Into Mischief, the gray gets her coat color from broodmare sire Tapit. There’s not a great deal of black type in her family, but that’s no obstacle to being a pure speed machine.

Although Jerry Hollendorfer owns the highest first-time starter percentage in this group (23 percent), his duo are both listed at 15-1 on the morning line. Don Alberto Stable’s homebred Mapit, in particular, strikes me as value at that price. She’s by North American record-setting sire Tapit from an accomplished female line. Out of the stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare Mi Vida, she counts as her second dam Crystal Current, a stakes-winning full sister to Hopeful (G1) hero and sire Majestic Warrior. Her third dam is multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Dream Supreme, and her fourth dam is Grade 1 vixen Spinning Round. Mapit’s pedigree also sports 3x3 inbreeding to A.P. Indy. If that appears to tilt stouter than a five-furlong maiden, consider that dam Mi Vida is closely related to British-based speedball Wind Fire (also by Distorted Humor and their dams are full siblings).

Hollendorfer’s other entrant, Our Slick Chick, races in his name as a $50,000 OBS April purchase. The Eskendereya filly, who covered one furlong in :10 2/5 at the under tack show, was produced by a full sister to 2007 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Wicked Style. The mare, Wicked Uno, is responsible for two other runners, both by Eskendereya, one of them a winner.

Peter Miller likewise fields two chances. My Princess Taylor (12-1), a daughter of Distorted Humor and the stakes-winning Tapit mare Redreamit, sold to Rockingham Ranch for $150,000 at OBS March. Her dam is a perfect three-for-three with all of her older racing age foals being winners so far. The flashy chestnut evinced a high head carriage during the under tack show but clocked :10 2/5.

Broome (8-1), gaveled down for $80,000 at OBS April, went in :10 1/5 at the under tack show. By Bellamy Road, she is out of the Closing Argument mare Midst, who earned her lone stakes victory as a juvenile in the 2009 My Dear at Woodbine.

The two remaining fillies in the main body of the field are both well-bred juveniles by Speightstown who aren’t 20-1 on pedigree. At the same time, it is worth pointing out that neither is engaged in the Debutante.

Babbs, a $275,000 Saratoga yearling purchase by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, is now co-owned by Bridlewood Farm – thus representing two-thirds of the Tapwrit partnership. Her second dam is a full sister to 2005 Kentucky Derby (G1) shocker Giacomo and a half to multiple Grade 1 hero Tiago. While Innyminniemineymoe fetched just $17,000 at Keeneland September, her dam is multiple Grade 3-placed Inny Minnie, a Hard Spun half-sister to Group 2-winning juvenile Montgomery’s Arch.

Also-eligible Halo Girl (20-1), a troubled sixth on debut, went for a scant $1,200 at Keeneland September. By Argentine Group 1 miler Snapy Halo, she’s out of the A.P. Indy mare Appleby Gardens, who won the 2002 Shady Well and placed in the Frizette (G1). Second dam Larkwhistle was Canada’s champion juvenile filly in 1996.

Tyfosha photo courtesy Doug O'Neill's Facebook page