Larkin Armstrong’s Harmonize, a highly-regarded Eastern invader trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and piloted by Junior Alvarado, outfinished Decked Out and Kent Desormeaux in the final yards to win an exciting renewal of the G1 $300,000 Del Mar Oaks for three-year-old fillies Saturday.
Sent postward as the 7-2 second betting choice in a field of ten fillies, Harmonize hit the wire a head in front of 9-1 Decked Out, with Stays in Vegas another nose back in third and a half-length ahead of 3-1 favored Mokat.
Harmonize, a daughter of Scat Daddy making her initial start on the West Coast, ran the mile and one-eighth over the infield grass in 1:48.71 and returned $9.20, $5.40 and $3.40 after scoring her fourth win in nine starts.
The filly provided Alvarado with victory in his first ever Del Mar mount and Mott with his second success in the Del Mar Oaks, having garnered his initial seaside stakes win with Bail Out Becky in the l995 edition of the race. First money of $180,000 pushed her earnings to $484,260.
Runner-up Decked Out paid $8.40 and $6.20, while Stays in Vegas paid $4.20 to show.
Del Mar Oaks QUOTES
JUNIOR ALVARADO (Harmonize, winner) – “She had some trouble last time, but she ran just right today. Bill (trainer Bill Mott) didn’t give me any special instructions before I came out (from Saratoga). He rarely does. But she was full of run today and showed everyone just how good she is. This is my first mount at Del Mar. Amazing. I win a Grade I. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve wanted to ride here and now I have and it worked out great.”
KENT DESORMEAUX (Decked Out, second) – “She ran great. She went 22 and change down the lane, again. The winner was incredible. She had to be to beat my filly today.”
FLAVIEN PRAT (Stays in Vegas, third) – “I had the good trip. The post wasn’t the best for her, but what are you going to do. She ran well. I thought I had it.”
RODOLPHE BRISSET (assistant to Bill Mott) (Harmonize, winner) “We already faced the very nice fillies on the East Coast, Catch a Glimpse and Time and Motion, and we thought coming here would be a good opportunity to win a Grade I. We got a dream trip and got there at the wire, so that’s very good. We’re going back to New York on Wednesday, but now….we’ll just enjoy this one.”
DAN WARD (assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer) (Stays in Vegas, 3rd) “I’m really proud of her. She ran her eyeballs out.”
FRACTIONS: :23.43 :47.87 1:12.69 1:36.88 1:48.71
This was the first mount at Del Mar for rider Alvarado.
This is trainer Mott’s first starter at Del Mar this summer. He has now won the Del Mar Oaks twice and has 10 stakes wins here overall. His previous win in the Oaks was in 1995 with Bail Out Becky. That was his first stakes triumph at Del Mar.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club