Del Mar Debutante Preview: All Eyes on American Cleopatra

American Cleopatra © Zoe Metz for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
© Zoe Metz for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

As the saying goes, two out of three ain’t bad.

And Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday morning that he’ll run two of his very good fillies, American Cleopatra and Noted and Quoted, in Saturday’s Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante while saving American Gal for another day.

Pace Scenario – Fast

Speed: #1 Miss Southern Miss, #3 American Cleopatra

Stalkers: #2 Morganite, #4 Champagne Room, #5 Noted and Quoted

Closers: #6 Holy Mosey, #7 Union Strike

The pace should be hot as there are for sure two speedy horses, and most like one or two more of the “stalkers” that will end up pressing the pace in my estimation.  This could turn things into a “jockey’s race” as sitting off the speed and/or getting postion will be a huge factor.  With the field this evenly matched the pace will impact the race in a big way.


Top Pick: #5 Noted and Quoted

She was a huge hype horse on opening weekend at Del Mar, and didn’t quite live up to the hype as she finished fourth on debut.  However, last time out she put it all together in a big was as she romped to a nine length maiden special weight blowout win while being well in hand the whole race.  If she can repeat that effort I believe she could cruise in this spot, and Bob Baffert is coming into this race on fire.  This is a very evenly matched field on paper though so in no way am I recommending you single this horse.

Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers: #3 American Cleopatra and #2 Morganite

It was super hard not to pick American Cleopatra on top, especially since she beat me last time at an unbelievable price.  There is no question she has a big shot, but I just liked the other Baffert filly a bit more.  However, I said the exact same thing last time and it bit me.  Morganite beat Champagne Room in her only start by over a length and Champagne Room came back to win the Sorrento Stakes.  That obviously makes her appealing.

Exotic Plays: #4 Champagne Room

Won the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes last time out in stylish fashion, but I’m skeptical about the quality of that field.  After all she was still a maiden when she won that race, and was also a heavy favorite to win the race which shows that the field could have been weak.  That being said her run did impress me, but I just think she’s worth going against as far as a win bet goes as some of the recent maiden winners look tough in here.

Party Crashers: #7 Union Strike

She’s only ran once and she lost that only start by two lengths to American Cleopatra, but there are a few factors that could swing things in her favor today at a nice price.  In her debut she was off a bit slow, and was able to pass a lot of horses in a small amount of time.  With a better break and a stretch out to 7 furlongs today it could benefit her in a big way.  I’m not calling her a likely winner, but if you like playing longshots there is enough to like about her to make her a logical option at double digit odds.

Throw Outs: #1 Miss Southern Miss and #6 Holy Mosey

Miss Southern Miss was second last time out in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes, but I’m not certain that race was all that strong.  Holy Mosey just looks to be totally outclassed in this spot.


American Cleopatra, a full sister to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, steps up to the highest level of stakes competition off a two-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong racing debut here on July 31. Noted and Quoted made late progress to finish fourth in her five-furlong first career start here on July 16 and returned with an impressive 9 ½-length win at six furlongs on August 7.

Last week, Baffert stated intentions to also start American Gal, another first-out winner here, in the Debutante but said Wednesday the Kentucky-bred daughter of Concord Point, owned by Kaleem Shah, would be handled conservatively as the result of a cough and minor mucous buildup.

The seven-furlong Debutante, which drew seven entries, determines the 2-year-old filly champion of the meeting and has showcased the eventual Eclipse Award winner in the Juvenile Filly category three of the last four years – Songbird, She’s a Tiger and Beholder.

The post position was Wednesday, and is as follows: #1 Miss Southern Miss (Keith Desormeaux/Kent Desormeaux), #2 Morganite (John Sadler/Victor Espinoza), #3 American Cleopatra (Baffert/Bejarano), #4 Champagne Room (Peter Eurton/Mario Gutierrez), #5 Noted and Quoted (Baffert/Mike Smith), #6 Holy Mosey (Molly Pearson/Guiseppe Ercegovic), and #7 Union Strike (Shelbe Ruis/Martin Garcia).

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