Moonshine Memories Wins Grade I Del Mar Debutante
Moonshine Memories © Benoit Photo
Moonshine Memories, a $650,000 purchase as a yearling, stamped herself to be a filly with a bright future Saturday as she led from wire-to-wire under jockey Flavien Prat to win the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Debutante, championship event of the summer season for two-year-old fillies.
Moonshine Memories, winner of a maiden race in her career debut two weeks ago, took command leaving the gate, set a rapid pace and held off the late stretch challenge of longshot Piedi Bianchi to score by a half-length in 1:23.61 for the seven furlongs.
Piedi Bianchi, a $10,000 supplementary nominee who went postward at 18-1 under Mario Gutierrez, was five and one-quarter lengths ahead of third-place Spectator, the 2-1 second choice after winning the Sorrento Stakes a month ago. Fourth was Dancing Belle, with Just a Smidge, the 9-5 favorite finishing fifth after pushing the early pace.
Moonshine Memories, a daughter of Malibu Moon owned by Bridlewood Farm, Smith and Tabor and trained by Simon Callaghan, returned $13.40, $6.40 and $4.20 while earning first prize of $180,000. Runner-up Piedi Bianchi paid $14.20 and $6, while Spectator returned $3 to show.
With her victory, Moonshine Memories became a prime contender in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar Saturday, November 4.
Moonshine Memories provided Prat with his third win of the afternoon. He won the fourth race on Coils Gold at $8.20 and the fifth aboard Solomini for a $4 return.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Moonshine Memories, winner) – “No special instructions for me today; he (trainer Simon Callaghan) said ‘She’s got speed; get her away from there and find a spot.’ She was cruising out there today. Just cruising. She’s a nice filly. And I think she’ll definitely run on.”
MARIO GUTIERREZ (Piedi Bianchi, second) – “That was a good late run from her. She’s getting better. Improving all the time.”
SPECTATOR (Jamie Theriot, third) – “She stumbled coming away from there and grabbed a quarter. (Cut herself up front.) She was swapping leads on the backside and I couldn’t figure out why. Afterwards I knew. But she fought through the pain and came running late. Good effort for her.”
KENT DESORMEAUX (Dancing Belle, fourth) – “She gave it a try.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO (Just a Smidge, fifth) – “She just didn’t pick it up late. It wasn’t there.”
MIKE SMITH (Poetic, sixth) – “You just can’t close on this track. She couldn’t today.”
SIMON CALLAGHAN (Moonshine Memories, winner) – “We were actually looking for any small excuse not to run her back (in two weeks). There was no pressure from the owners. This filly just did everything you’d want from a horse in between (starts). She showed in the paddock, her disposition and how calm she was, is something you can’t instill in them, it’s within them. (During the race) I liked the way she was traveling within herself, but then you look at the fractions and you get a little worried. She just kept running potential rivals off and she was all heart at the end.”
FRACTIONS: :21.97 :44.85 1:09.90 1:23.61
The stakes win was the (meet-leading) ninth of the session for rider Prat, but his first in the Del Mar Debutante. He now has 19 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for trainer Callaghan, but his first in the Del Mar Debutante. He now has five stakes wins at Del Mar.
The winning owners are the Bridlewood Farm of John and Lesley Malone of Ocala, FL, along with the Irish/English connection of Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor.