Rancho Bernardo Handicap Matches Five Swift Females
A small but select field of older fillies and mares will match speed Sunday in the 46th running of the Grade III $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at six and one-half furlongs on Del Mar’s main track.
Co-highweights at 123 pounds are Bendable, with Mike Smith, and Constellation, to be ridden by Flavien Prat. However, the favorite’s role probably will go to the razor-sharp Skye Diamonds, in at 122 pounds under regular rider Tiago Pereira. Completing the line-up will be Rockport Babe, 116 and Martin Garcia, and Munny Spunt, 112 and Drayden Van Dyke.
Skye Diamonds, another astute claim by trainer Bill Spawr, for $40,000 last August at Del Mar, has won five of her last seven races for her new owners, including most recently the Great Lady M Stakes at Los Alamitos in which 2016 champion distaff sprinter Finest City finished fourth.
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will send out Bendable, a winner of four of six career starts who captured the Desert Stormer at Santa Anita in mid-June. Constellation, from the barn of another Hall of Famer, Jerry Hollendorfer, was runner-up to Skye Diamonds in the Great Lady M, beaten two and one-half lengths.
Also coming into the Rancho Bernardo fresh from victories, albeit against easier company, are Rockport Babe, winner of an optional-claiming race at Santa Anita June 25, and Munny Spunt, a $25,000 claim June 30 who won a $32,000 claiming race two weeks ago at Del Mar.
Post time for the first of nine races will be 2 p.m.