Nyquist, Songbird looking to clinch Breeders’ Cup spots
Each race is worth $300,000 and set at 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as their respective Breeders’ Cup events. The FrontRunner will take place three races prior to the Chandelier and has attracted a field of eight.
Perhaps the biggest name in the FrontRunner is Nyquist, who brings an unbeaten three-for-three mark into the contest. The Doug O’Neill pupil opened his career with a head win over the track in June, romped by 5 1/4 lengths while making his stakes debut in the Best Pal S. (G2) and then posted a 3 3/4-length score in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) last out on September 7.
The bay son of Uncle Mo is the only runner in this field boasting a triple-digit BRIS Speed rating after earning a 102 BRIS Speed rating for his Best Pal score. Mario Gutierrez has been aboard for all of Nyquist’s start and retains the mount on Saturday.
Swipe and Blameitonthelaw finished second and third, respectively, behind Nyquist in the Del Mar Futurity and will be looking to turn the tables in the FrontRunner. Swipe, who was also runner-up in the Best Pal prior to the Futurity, gets regular rider Kent Desormeaux in the irons while Blameitonthelaw teams back up with Tyler Baze.
A new prospect in the field is Mt Veeder, who is perfect in two starts thus far. The Bob Baffert trainee broke his maiden by 2 1/4 lengths on August 15 at Del Mar and just added a 4 3/4-length score in Los Alamitos’ Contender S. to his resume two weeks ago. Martin Garcia has the call.
Completing the field are Hollywood Don, Rare Candy and Go Long, the respective winner, fourth and sixth-placer from the Del Mar Juvenile Turf, and maiden victor On Fire.
The Chandelier drew nine runners and is looking to be showdown for the top four from the Del Mar Debutante (G1) on September 5.
Songbird dominated that seven-furlong contest by 5 1/4 lengths, wiring the 10-filly field over Pretty N Cool in second, Land Over Sea in third and Right There in fourth. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has now captured her two lifetime starts by 11 3/4 lengths and keeps Mike Smith in the irons on Saturday.
Pretty N Cool entered the Debutante unbeaten from two starts but just could not keep pace with Songbird. However, she did get the better of Land Over Sea by three parts of a length. That filly was, in turn, 4 3/4 lengths up on Right There on the Debutante wire. Garcia will be aboard Pretty N Cool, Gutierrez has the call on Land Over Sea and Desormeaux has piloting duties on Right There.
The Chandelier also includes Sheeza Milky Way and Yodelsong, the respective fourth- and eighth-place finishers in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf, as well as romping maiden winners Halo Darlin, Vieja Luna and Jade Princess.
Nyquist and Songbird photos courtesy of Benoit Photos