A full field faces the starter for the 2022 Del Mar Oaks on Saturday, with G1-placed Spendarella and G2 winner Txope leading the way alongside recent course winner Bellabel, who looks the best of trainer Phil D’Amato’s four contenders.
Del Mar Oaks
Grade 1, $300,000, 1m 1f turf, 3yo fillies
There is plenty of quantity but not a whole lot of quality in the Del Mar Oaks, the showpiece event in California on Saturday, with only four fillies quoted at single-figure odds on the morning line.
European angles are prominent, with Spendarella (8-5) coming off a superb performance in the G1 Coronation at Royal Ascot over a mile, when she gave best only to the brilliant Inspiral, winner of an all-aged G1 in France last week. That was the first defeat of Spendarella’s career, with victories at G2 and G3 level in the spring, and she should have no issue stretching out to a mile-eighth for the first time.
French import Txope (5-1) makes her debut Stateside after showing decent form across the Atlantic, G3-placed at home and last time out winner of a G2 over a mile at Dusseldorf in Germany. It’s hard to relate the form to the task she faces today – it was a little below that posted by Spendarella – but she may find improvement for the change of scene.
Plenty of these come on from the G2 San Clemente here over a mile last month, a race won by Irish import Bellabel (5-1), who finished off her race well to score by two lengths from barnmate Sixteen Arches (12-1), with another barnmate Island Of Love (12-1) a neck away in third, Lady T (20-1) another neck back in fourth, Lucky Girl (30-1) fifth before being disqualified for interference, Tezzaray (20-1) tenth and Gold Dragon Queen (50-1) last of 12. That was a distinct improvement from Bellabel, who is expected to confirm the form with those beaten horses and rates the best of trainer Phil D’Amato’s quartet, which is completed by Santa Anita maiden winner Rhea Moon (30-1).
Cairo Memories (3-1) probably found the mile and a quarter of the G1 Belmont Oaks too far, and is better judged on her successes over this distance in the G3 Honeymoon and the G3 Providencia at Santa Anita. In the Honeymoon she had a length and a quarter to spare over Island Of Love, with Ballet Dancing (20-1) a length and a half further back in third and Gold Dragon Queen last of six.
Gracelund Gray (15-1) was impressive in victory in a mile-sixteenth allowance optional claimer here last month, with Ballet Dancing and Rhea Moon filling out the board, but needs to find improvement to figure here, while the ex-British Lady Clementine (30-1) won a mile maiden here on her first start Stateside but it’s a big leap to go straight into G1 company.
Del Mar Oaks Prediction
Spendarella is the only one with top G1 form but TXOPE won a G2 last time and is the choice to step up on her first start in the US.
|HORSE||JOCKEY||DEL MAR OAKS ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS|
|Rhea Moon (IRE)||Ramon A. Vazquez||+3000|
|Bellabel (IRE)||Umberto Rispoli||+500|
|Island of Love (IRE)||Juan J. Hernandez||+1200|
|Lucky Girl (IRE)||Ryan Curatolo||+3000|
|Cairo Memories||Mike E. Smith||+300|
|Tezzaray (GB)||Hector Isaac Berrios||+2000|
|Sixteen Arches (IRE)||Abel Cedillo||+1200|
|Gracelund Gray||Joe Bravo||+1500|
|Txope (FR)||Florent Geroux||+500|
|Gold Dragon Queen||Armando Ayuso||+5000|
|Ballet Dancing||Drayden Van Dyke||+2000|
|Lady T||Victor Espinoza||+2000|
|Lady Clementine (GB)||Feargal Lynch||+3000|
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