Eight juvenile fillies will battle on Sept. 5 over seven furlongs in the 71st edition of the $300,000 TVG Del Mar Debutante (G1), the top race for 2-year-old fillies at the seaside summer session.
The Debutante is headed by a pair of sharp fillies who had to be divided by the photo finish camera when they met here on Aug. 6 in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes. Little Red Feather Racing’s Elm Drive hung tough to come out on top by a head that day with a game Eda, who is owned by Baoma Corp, right alongside her.
Each of those fillies has run twice, Elm Drive having scored a handy eight-length victory at Los Alamitos in her debut on June 26 and Eda finishing second – but being elevated to first – in her racing bow at Santa Anita on June 26.
Further, both fillies came out of the Ocala Breeders’ Sale of 2-year-olds in training this past March in Florida. Elm Drive, who is by the Tapit sire Mohaymen, fetched $165,000. Eda, a daughter of Munnings, brought $550,000.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the last two runnings of the Debutante with Bast (2019) and Princess Noor (2020) and has nine Debutante wins dating back to 1995, entered two for the race.
In addition to Eda, Baffert will send out Grace Adler, a daughter of Curlin who was a $700,000 auction purchase for Willow Grace Farm and Michael Petersen and won her racing debut at Del Mar on July 31.
“It took a little bit to get herself going last time but she really start running like just the last eighth of a mile,” jockey Flavien Prat told TVG’s Joaquin Jaime of Grace Adler. “So definitely I think the distance is going to help her. It’s going to be a huge help for her. She won going five and a half because she showed some class, but that’s definitely not her ideal distance.”
Dance to the Music is yet another graduate of the OBS, but this one was the Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training in April, where she was bid in for $575,000. She’s by the Distorted Humor stallion Maclean’s Music. Her lone start saw her score smartly by almost five lengths in a straight maiden race at five and a half furlongs at Del Mar on July 24.