Del Mar Oaks 2021 Entries: Brown's Fluffy Socks tries to spin home ...

Trainer Chad Brown comes to the West Coast with a runner who looking to scoop up this Grade 1 ... see what her chances are like in this preview.
Trainer Chad Brown comes to the West Coast with a runner who looking to scoop up this Grade 1 ... see what her chances are like in this preview.

Race 9: 1 1/8th (Turf), Del Mar Oaks (G1), Purse $300k, 3F (Saturday)

The 65th running of the Del Mar Oaks is a highlight on the undercard that features the Pacific Classic (G1). Over the past 10 years, no trainer has won this Grade 1 race more than once … an intriguing betting fact. Some excellent young female runners have won this contest, and some have gone on to some celebrated turf careers. Names like Graham Motion’s Summer Soiree, Christophe Clement’s Discreet Marq, Bill Mott’s Harmonize, Mark Casse’s Dream Dancing, and Chad Brown’s Cambier Parc all come to mind. Last year, Paddy Gallagher’s Red Lark (IRE) notched the win, and it gave “PG” his 2nd-win historically in this spot. He doesn’t have one entered this time around … so, no defending champ means, we might be facing yet another 1st timer to visit the winner’s circle.

Now, let’s find out about this field…


#1 Closing Remarks (Jky: U. Rispoli/Trn: C. Gaines):

Trainer Carla Gaines reached a certain level of fame years back, and since then she has carried on with a small, but effective SoCal training stable. That translates to quality over quantity. The filly out of Vronsky belongs in this spot after a 2020 campaign that saw her take on some tough competition in the Jimmy Durante (G3). The top 2 finishers from that race, Fluffy Socks #7 and Javanica #2 are back once again, so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out. My sense is that the Harris homebred is stronger since last November, having taken on the likes of Going Global #3 and Madone #4. I am interested to know why Gaines thought that she should try dirt last time at Del Mar? That seemed like an odd choice on paper. The result was a 3rd place in a “Non-G” 175k contest. Getting back to the grass, and adding Umberto Rispoli sounds inviting. Will get overlooked on the tote …

Grade: A-


#2 Javanica (Jky: D. Van Dyke/Trn: E. Harty):

The Godolphin homebred received a freshening last out at Del Mar for Eoin Harty in an OC80k event that ended up being a wire-to-wire score. Flavien Prat is off this mount, replaced by Drayden Van Dyke. The leading jockey has a more important assignment. At one point, that was probably considered an upgrade, but it is not these days. Van Dyke just is not what he used to be. There is little doubt that this runner is full of a strong turf pedigree coming from Medaglia d’Oro. Jumping back into this kind of “Graded Co.” is not an easy pivot, and Harty is hoping that this filly can rise to the occasion. Still, will not be a simple one … outside chance to even hit the board in my opinion.

Grade: C+


#3 Going Global (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: P. D’Amato):

In Del Mar’s San Clemente (G2), this filly disappointed bettors who backed her … she lost trying keep up with eventual winner Madone #4. Her streak of 5 U.S. wins in a row came to a precipitous end. I was fine playing against her in that spot, so it will be very interesting to see what her odds are looking like 2 minutes-to-post. My sense is that with Flavien Prat aboard, she will be over bet once again, and most will draw a line through that last one saying the distance was too short. We have seen this before though, a Euro import comes to town and wins, then all of a sudden suffers a loss … things change. I think this race, the Oaks, is a seminal contest in her career. If she can rise to the occasion, then she has the potential to be among the elite SoCal turf horses in the division. Back to distance moves, back to 1 1/8th, is not specious reasoning and should assist greatly. A regression could mean that the connections need to recalibrate … I am thinking it will be a touch of the latter.

Grade: B+


#4 Madone (Jky: JJ Hernandez/Trn: S. Callaghan):

Winner of the San Clemente (G2) last out at Del Mar, it was a magnificent display of late power, as the filly out of Vancouver (AUS) surged ahead when it counted. Jockey JJ Hernandez knows this one through and through … Kaleem Shah has a good one that he invested in, and is looking for more “Graded” glory. The challenge with this type of style is exhibiting a late turn-of-foot can be wrought with peril. Traffic troubles increase the likelihood that gaps will not magically appear. Hernandez is going to have to be very careful whether to choose the rail that might open, or the 4 or 5-path that unleashes at a moment’s notice. Simon Callaghan has this one headed in the right direction … 2/2 is possible, stepping up. The only tick in the negative is can she get the distance? Hmm … 1 1/8th …

Grade: B+


#5 Feathers (Jky: A. Cedillo/Trn: P. Miller):

I am not sure what Peter Miller told Aron Wellman at Eclipse Thoroughbreds, but the connections are taking a shot with this filly out of Zoffany (IRE). Or vice-versa … She is loaded with a nice turf pedigree (more on the dam side, actually), and that might prove useful. That is going to be necessary, especially considering the class jump. I am not positive that her short career in the UK was all that formative, nor her attempts across many of the SoCal racetracks. Abel Cedillo is not much of a lawn rider, despite having some decent overall numbers. If this one hits the board, despite the excellent ownership group, it will be a lark.

Grade: C


#6 Ivy League (Jky: K. Frey/Trn: R. Mandella):

Like her starting gate roomy, this Richard Mandella trainee is taking a jump up in class after running in a much lesser designation last time. Making the move from an OC40k to a Grade 1 is not exactly something that a ‘capper can make a case for. This is Mandella we are talking about here, but even he has his limits. The LNJ Foxwoods runner is well-bred out of Medaglia d’Oro, and she did contest the Providencia (G3) a couple races back. If she can take that experience, and improve at this distance, she might have a chance to mix it up for the minors. Actually, jockey Kyle Frey has some nice turf stats, and he has quietly put together some nice decision-making out on the grass. Maybe that will assist because most will conclude, correctly, that entering here is a stretch.

Grade: C+


#7 Fluffy Socks (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: C. Brown):

The Chad Brown Turf Machine is rolling back out to SoCal for this Grade 1 event. He came, he saw, he conquered … an apt quote don’t you think for this trainer who just passed +2000 in the “wins” department? Last November, in the Jimmy D (G3), she was aggressively ridden by Irad Ortiz, as he bullied his way to a win. The stewards gave him a slap on the wrist, and he went back East with no lessons learned. In the meantime, Brown’s filly out of Slumber (GB) has completed a mixed bag of tries on the grass at all 3 NYRA tracks. They were not terrible … the Lake George (G3) 2nd place score was a surprise at odds of 13/1. Jockey frequent flyer points leader Joel Rosario is present, and he is going to try and navigate this one home. Rolling late seems likely … her chances are excellent, but I will be playing against her. I can tell you that right now … over bet and overrated, I want to look elsewhere.

Grade: B


#8 Tetragonal (Jky: J. Bravo/Trn: R. Baltas):

The Baltas Barn has this perennial miler going up in distance and class in the Oaks. It may not end well. Certainly, this filly out of Mehmas (IRE) has gamed with many of these before, but she doesn’t have much to show for it. There were glimpses of her potential greatness, but coming into this race some major question marks exist. I have no idea if she has the chops to take on this crowd. She looks fit after coming off a short break in June, running 3rd in the San Clemente (G2) behind Madone #4 and Going Global #3. Looking back on it, that was not a poor effort whatsoever. Jockey Joe Bravo has ability on the turf, and though it is a small sample, his riding ability is evident. One to use underneath for sure … I doubt though he will be able to keep up with some of the late reactors that are drawn in here.  

Grade: B-


#9 Soaring Sky (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: Mrs. J. Harrington):

It is always a pleasure to see members of Mrs. Jessica Harrington lot shipping into Southern California. Not only does it provide variety, but more importantly, we know that these are top-class runners. They are well-bred, well-trained, and should be considered a threat to any favorite. She has done it before, and the Irish-based flat trainer (who people mistake for being primarily a jumps conditioner) will do it again. This particular filly has upside in that she is an unknown quantity. That makes her dangerous, and I would expect Florent Geroux, who is in-town to ride, to be aggressive with her late. Her turf pedigree is dynamite … out of Allannah Abu (GB) with Dubawi in the background. That is pretty impressive, and easily qualifies her for the smartest-looking bloodline in this contest. Her class rating might not look like much to Americans, but there is form laced in there. Her ability to contest this distance should not be an issue. I like the choice, quite a bit. Mrs. Harrington is a class act!

Grade: B+


It’s Pacific Classic Day … from beautiful Del Mar! Check out all of our selections come Saturday!

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