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2022 Betty Grable Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Baffert’s Fun To Dream Should Cruise To Easy Win
Lindsay Affleck

2022 Betty Grable Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Baffert’s Fun To Dream Should Cruise To Easy Win

Mike previews the 2022 Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar, then gives his top picks and long shots. The Bob Baffert trainee Fun to Dream looks ultra tough in this short field and should cruise to an easy win, so Mike tells you who to use underneath in a stone cold trifecta. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

The gray filly Fun to Dream might have been licking her figurative chops down at trainer Bob Baffert’s barn when they told her about her upcoming tilt this Sunday. They said we’ve got you a nice seven-panel sprint against California-bred fillies; kind of like the Fleet Treat Stakes you won at Del Mar back in July, the one you took by almost 10 lengths.  Piece of cake.

Gottcha, the daughter of champion Arrogate said, sounds like it might be fun. How many do I have to beat, she asked? Only four others, came the reply. The cake, it seems, was getting sweeter.

Have you got me a good rider? Sure, your regular guy, the one that’s ridden you in all four of your previous starts – Juan Hernandez. You know, the guy that was Del Mar’s riding champ in the summer by about as far as you can throw a rock. Ah, yes, he and I are pals; we do good together.

Do I get to run for any kind of money?  How about $100K? Yes, yes, not bad, not bad at all. Sign me up, boss. I’ve got three good recent works under my belt and I’m feeling good. Fun indeed.  

The 27th edition of the race formerly known as the Cat’s Cradle Stakes, now called the Betty Grable Stakes, has drawn a short field of California-bred distaffers headed by Jill Baffert and Connie Pageler’s homebred Fun to Dream. She’s won three of her four outings and has been a short price in each of those affairs. She looms a very short price again Sunday in the day’s feature.

Here’s the field for the stakes from the rail out with riders: Jennifer Saavedra’s Roman Empress (Drayden Van Dyke in the irons); Harris Farms’ All Dialed In (Tyler Baze); Fun to Dream; George Krikorian’s Big Novel (Flavien Prat), and Mia Familia Racing Stable’s Taming the Tigress (Ramon Vazquez).

The big danger to “Fun” might come by way of Big Novel, also a homebred gray, though she’s by the sire Mr. Big. She was stakes placed twice at Del Mar last year as a juvenile and has been stakes placed twice this year at Santa Anita. But the key element for her might be the fact that ace rider Prat has returned from the east for the fall Del Mar session and he’s the fellow who has won the Betty Grable the last five years in a row. John Sadler trains the 3-year-old lassie.

Taming the Tigress has won six of her 16 starts, though she’s primarily been pitched against lesser company. The 4-year-old is by Smiling Tiger.  

All Dialed In, by Dialed In, was well beaten against similar company on the turf in her last out, August 21 on the grass at Del Mar.

Roman Empress has been laboring in the claiming ranks of late and is taking a big step up here.

First post Sunday will be the usual 12:30 p.m. The Betty Grable, which goes as Race 8 on the nine-race card, should have a post time of approximately 4 p.m.

Fun to Dream (Lindsay Affleck)

There has been no need for a photo finish camera when Fun to Dream races. When she wins, she wins big and she’ll try for another laugher in Sunday’s $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar. It’s the last of the opening weekend’s stakes races featuring a compact field of five Cal-bred fillies and mares going seven furlongs.

Bob Baffert’s, Fun to Dream has won three of her four starts and has been the favorite in all of them. The Arrogate filly comes into the race off a victory in an entry level allowance/claimer at Santa Anita last month. She went off at 2-5 that day and didn’t disappoint, winning by four lengths in the end.

“She’s doing really well,” Baffert says. “She’s been a lot of fun. She’s by one of my all-time favorite horses, Arrogate.”

Baffert is also part owner and breeder of the horse. Fun to Dream has won her three races by a combined 20 ¾ lengths, breaking her maiden by 6 ¼ lengths and winning the Fleet Treat at Del Mar this past summer by 9 ¾ lengths. She’s cutting back in distance from a mile and a sixteenth in her last.

“She ran one bad race where she came out (and was disqualified),” Baffert says. “I took the blinkers off her for her last race and stretched her out. I think she’s better going two turns. We’re limited on races, on where to run her. She’s a Cal-bred and we thought we’d take advantage of our Cal-bred status. After this it’s all open company from here on out.”

She’ll be tested by Big Novel from the John Sadler barn. The 3-year old daughter of Mr. Big has finished in the money in all eight of her career starts, winning twice. She’s run in Cal-bred stakes five times with three runner-up finishes but hasn’t raced since April.

“She’s a hard knocking filly,” Sadler says. “We gave her a little bit of a vacation after her last start. She was second down there (at Del Mar) last fall behind my other one, Big Switch, so we think she fits the conditions of the race and look forward to getting her started back.”

The Betty Grable goes off as the eighth of nine races Sunday. It’s named after the late film star who was a box office sensation in the 1940’s and a Del Mar regular in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s.

Here’s the field from the rail with the jockeys and morning line odds: Roman Empress (Drayden Van Dyke, 30-1); All Dialed In (Tyler Baze, 6-1); Fun to Dream (Juan Hernandez, 3-5); Big Novel (Flavien Prat, 8-5) and Taming the Tigress (Ramon Vasquez, 10-1).