Champagne Room, the 6-5 favorite under Mario Gutierrez, won the first race of her young career in style Saturday with a well-earned triumph in the Grade II $200,000 Sorrento Stakes, prelude to the title-deciding Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on September 3.
In the co-featured Grade III $150,000 La Jolla Handicap, 25-1 longshot Free Rose led from wire-to-wire under skilled rating by jockey Joe Talamo to win by a half-length over the fast-closing Lucky Bryan, with Moonlight Drive another half-length back in third. Fourth in the field, another half-length removed, was Monster Bea, the opening-day Oceanside Stakes winner who went postward the 2-1 favorite.
Champagne Room, a daughter of Broken Vow, was a $2,000 supplementary entrant in the 6 ½ furlong Sorrento and rewarded her connections’ confidence with her length and one-quarter win over an unlucky Miss Southern Miss, who was bumped soundly in the first few strides leaving the gate. Miss Southern Miss, piloted by Kent Desormeaux, gamely recovered, eventually to take the lead entering the stretch, but was unable to hold off the winner in the final sixteenth.
Champagne Room, second in a maiden race in her debut July 16, stepped the Sorrento distance in 1:16.35 and returned $4.60, $2.60 and $2.10 while earning first money of $120,000. Miss Southern Miss paid $2.60 and $2.20, while third-place Aunt Jenn returned $2.60.
Peter Eurton trains Champagne Room, a $310,000 purchase at a two-year-old in training in sale in Florida last April, for the ownership combine of Alesia, Ciaglia Racing and Exline-Border Racing.
Sorrento Stakes Quotes
MARIO GUTIERREZ (Champagne Room, winner) – “Peter (trainer Peter Eurton) is good with riders. He doesn’t say too much. He just says ‘Ride your race.’ I had a good trip from the outside. I could see what was going on out there and I waited for my turn (to run). She fired for me. I’ve been getting on her in the mornings and she’s been so sharp, training so well. I knew she’d run big.”
KENT DESORMEAUX (Miss Southern Miss, second) – “The (No.) one horse (Unforgivable U) came over into our path out of the gate and my filly had to (short) step, step, step. It set her up (to get beat). I didn’t rush her; she did that on her own. But that start hurt us.”
MARTIN PEDROZA (Auntjenn, third) – “She ran OK, but she got tired. Back too quick.”
PETER EURTON (Champagne Room, winner) “It was a great idea by (his advisors) to supplement (for $2,000). They brought some things to my attention that this has been a very influential race for the Debutante, the Chandelier and others. So instead of me being conservative and putting bubble wrap around her and wait for (the Debutante) we decided to go here. I loved the way she got away in the race. I loved the way she tracked. I didn’t know what (Miss Southern Miss) was doing, that was strange. But when my horse started to make that move around the turn I felt fairly confident she’d go on and the other horse would have been used up by doing what it did.”
FRACTIONS: :22.63 :45.00 1:09.83 1:16.35
The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Gutierrez and his second in the Sorrento. He now has 12 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Eurton and his first in the Sorrento. He now has six stakes wins at Del Mar.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club