Vale Dori lives up to 1-2 favoritism in Bayakoa

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

December 4th, 2016

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s Vale Dori was sent off the 1-2 favorite against seven rivals in Satuday’s $201,035 Bayakoa Handicap (G2) at Del Mar and easily scored a three-length victory under jockey Mike Smith.

The Bob Baffert-trained four-year-old filly tracked the pacesetting Gloryzapper through opening splits of :23.56, :47.68 and 1:12.41 before taking over and pulling off to finish 1 1/16 miles on the fast Del Mar dirt in 1:44.79.

Wild at Heart filled the runner-up spot, three parts of a length in front of Moyo Honey. Show Stealer, Barbara Beatrice, Autumn Flower, Gloryzapper and Desert Madam complete the order under the wire.

Vale Dori paid her faithful backers $3 while improving her record to read 10-5-3-1. The daughter of Asiatic Boy bumped her earnings to $454,943 for adding the Bayakoa Handicap to a resume that already boasts a Group 1 win in her native Argentina from last year as well as the Tranquility Lake Stakes on August 31.

Vale Dori folloewd the Tranquility Lake victory with a third-place run in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) and kicked off her 2016 campaign with a runner-up effort in the U.A.E. Oaks (UAE-G3) before finishing a close fourth in the U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) next out.

Bred by Abolengo, Vale Dori is out of the Halo Sunshine mare Valerina and comes from a black-type rich Argentinean female family that includes champions and numerous Group winners.

Vale Dori photo courtesy of Benoit Photos


Mike Smith, jockey Vale Dori, winner

“I was surprised to find out how much horse I had. I gave her one little bit of encouragement and she just threw me in the back seat. She’s got some kick. She’s going to get better, too. I got on this filly when they first brought her here and she was all nervous. But now she’s cool and calm. Have to give a lot of credit to (trainer) Bob (Baffert) and his crew. They’ve brought her far along.” 

Jim Barnes, assistant trainer Vale Dori, winner

“She did it like a (1-2) favorite should. We’ll take that. It played out like I expected. I thought the three (Gloryzapper) would be out there and we’d be able to sit right off her and that’s the way it worked out.” 

Javier Castellano, jockey Wild at Heart, second

“Good race for her; good effort. At the quarter pole, I’m thinking I can catch the winner. But then she just widened on us. The winner was too good. We were a good second best today.”

Norberto Arroyo Jr., jockey Moyo Honey, third

“She ran well, very well. She gave me confidence all the way around there. She tried hard.”