There will be an anniversary of sorts taking place for Shedaresthedevil this weekend, although almost nothing about her current situation bears much resemblance to the initial occasion that transpired.
Almost two years to the day since the now multiple Grade 1-winner arrived at Del Mar for her graded stakes debut, the daughter of Daredevil will return to the surfside venue on Aug. 1 with high-level accolades on the line, but a far different narrative around her. Since finishing third in the 2019 edition of the Sorrento Stakes (G2), almost everything in the 4-year-old filly’s world has changed – new owners, a new trainer, and a completely altered set of career expectations.
Without question, the biggest divergence that has transpired for the 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine since her early days on the West Coast is she can no longer show up in an entry box bearing the cloak of being under the radar. Her presence in Sunday’s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) is the latest evidence of such as Shedaresthedevil looms the one to beat in the seven-horse field for the $300,000 test going 1 1/16-miles.
The Clement L. Hirsch is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re in” race for the Longines Distaff (G1), offering the winner a fees-paid berth toward the $2 million test taking place at Del Mar on Nov. 6.
Before she became an Eclipse Award finalist and one of the leading contenders in a salty distaff division, Shedaresthedevil was an entrant in the 2019 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale after beginning her career with trainer Norm Casse, who saddled her to her maiden win at Churchill Downs for Glencrest Farm, before heading to Simon Callaghan’s California-based barn for the remainder of her juvenile season. Though she was well beaten in her three starts for Callaghan – all in stakes – owner Staton Flurry of Flurry Racing Stables and his team on the sales grounds thought she had the look of a horse who would improve if given the chance to consistently race around two turns.
Since laying out $280,000 to take Shedaresthedevil home from the November auction, Flurry has experienced the dream of a lifetime as his return on investment. Under the care of trainer Brad Cox, Shedaresthedevil has won five graded stakes, including victories in the Kentucky Oaks and this year’s La Troienne Stakes (G1), and has not been worse than third in 10 starts for her current connections.
“Since we’ve had her, we’ve never been off the board with her,” said Flurry, who owns Shedaresthedevil in partnership with Qatar Racing and Autry Lowry, Jr. “She always comes to dance and she’s been such a consistent horse for us. She’s just a pleasure to be around, she’s a sweetheart in the barn. She’s just the total package.
“Every owner wants to say they’ve been a Grade 1 winner and when you get that first Grade 1, that really solidifies your spot in the sport. You just hope you can maintain a high level of competitiveness in this game, and she’s allowed us to do that. We’ve gone out and bought some nice yearlings and 2-year-olds the last few years and hopefully we can turn those into stakes horses and get them on the Derby and Oaks trail in the future.”
Though she has often been overshadowed by her champion stablemate, Monomoy Girl, Shedaresthedevil got her 2021 season off a stellar beginning when she defeated current divisional leader Letruska in the March 13 Azeri Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park before throwing down a gate-to-wire clinic in the April 30 La Troienne beneath the Twin Spires.
When she and Letruska knocks heads again in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 5, the latter definitively flipped the script with a 2 ¾-length win as Shedaresthedevil finished third. Getting back to two-turns this weekend is something Flurry thinks will help his filly restore her mojo – that and the fact her budding rival will be in her stall in Kentucky rather than next to her in the gate.
“I think Letruska may be the best horse in the country right now, male or female,” Flurry said. “We hooked a monster that day (in the Phipps), but we do think the one turn compared to the two turns, it hurt us a little bit. We’re excited this weekend to get her back going around two turns and we’re glad we don’t have to face Letruska this weekend. Hopefully we won’t have to see her again for a few months.”
There may be no forcing a horse to love a certain surface, but getting a feel for how Shedaresthedevil will handle the Del Mar main track ahead of this year’s Breeders’ Cup was a major factor for her trip out West. While the Distaff is the obvious endgame for this season, Flurry is hopeful that it won’t serve as her career swansong.
“Right now, I think the plan is to keep the partnership together and run her at 5,” Flurry said. “We’ll see, but last we talked it was let’s keep on rolling as long as she’s healthy and happy and competitive. We’re not writing anything in stone in this game – this sport is ever changing from one minute to the next. But I expect we’ll see her next year.”
Among the top contenders set to challenge Shedaresthedevil is As Time Goes By, a regally-bred daughter of by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah out of Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady. The Bob Baffert trainee won the Santa Maria Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park on May 22 and also prevailed in the Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) on April 24.
Fellow entrant Venetian Harbor also comes into the Hirsch off a stakes victory, hers being the Grade 2 Monrovia at Santa Anita Park on June 5. It was her fourth overall victory and enhanced her bankroll to $633,400.