DEL MAR, CA – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Red Lark returned to her favorite distance with a winning effort in Saturday’s $250,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1).
Ignored while sent from gate 7 under Drayden Van Dyke as a 19/1 longshot, Red Lark allowed her inner rivals to go ahead so that she could save ground as the field exited the chute onto the turf oval.
Up front, the 3/2 favorite Laura’s Light set the pace, posting opening fractions of :24.26, :48.14, and 1:12.34 while Parkour gave closest watch.
Red Lark tipped out to run two-wide down the backstretch while slowly reeling in Carpe Vinum directly in front of her.
Continuing to close ground in the far turn, Van Dyke hit the gas midway through and tipped Red Lark out into the clear to commence a strong rally.
Driving past new leader Warren’s Showtime and jockey Mike Smith at the 1/16 pole, Red Lark was confidently handled across the wire to win the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route by a length in a final time of 1:48.64.
“Out of the gate, we had the perfect spot,” Van Dyke said. “I wanted to follow Mike Smith because I thought his filly would be the one to beat. I knew my filly had a good chance because she was really fit. We got bottled up in her last race. Today, she got to run and she showed how good she is.”
California Kook rallied from last to take second by a 1/2-length over Warren’s Showtime, while the French native Neige Blanche‘s North American debut ended in a respectable fourth.
Carpe Vinum, Laura’s Light, Guitty, Parkour, Miss Extra, and Aqua Seaform Shame completed the order of finish.
Trickle In was scratched.
Red Lark’s win was her first since breaking her maiden at 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita Park lawn in February and improved upon a third-place effort behind Carpe Vinum and California Kook in a local mile-long allowance last month. The 3-year-old Irish-bred Epaulette filly now sports a record of 12-2-2-1 with $225,000 earned.
“The allowance race here set her up well and she came out of it good,” Gallagher said. “I was confident in the filly; I knew she was happy and all, but I didn’t know if she was good enough. She needed to run the race of her life and she did. Drayden had her in a great spot all the way, and when he asked, she responded and was good enough.”
Red Lark returned $40.20 to win, $14 to place, and $9.20 to show. California Kook brought back $23.80 to place and $11.40 to show, while Warren’s Showtime paid $4.20 to show.