San Clemente Handicap (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
DMR- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile on the Turf
July 23, 2017
Every year, it is always exciting for the opening weekend of the two great summertime meets that take place on each coast. As a race fan, it is my favorite time of the year, with many trips to SAR planned while finishing the evening off with DMR simulcasts. In our virtual world, that sense of enthusiasm seems to also run rampant throughout most stables. Let’s get the fun started now, shall we? Saturday will give us great races, but so too will Sunday, and here we’re going to look out west to beautiful DMR for the 15th running of the San Clemente Handicap, a Grade 2 event on the grass for three year old fillies. It should be a good race, even though the field is small, as it features an intriguing blend of fillies who have already done great things, the up and comers, and the ones taking the shot. Let’s take a look at it!
#1- Typical Rich Girl (Smokey Stover, ridden by V Espinoza)- She may be a typical rich girl, but she has done well to make her own name for herself instead of just resting on her laurels. In fact, she can now say that she outearned both of her parents over the course of her still young career. Perhaps this is one that Mb Stables let get away, with Smokey Stover picking her up unraced for just $50.000 in private sales, and she would then go on to win five of her first six races. Included in that are wins in the Grade 3 Appalachian at KEE, and the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes up at WO, the latter of which earned her a 99 SRF. She also beat Good Line in that race, and you may remember that Good Line just won the $1,000.000 Grade 1 BEL Oaks two weeks ago. Doubters might be concerned about her last start, but I am going to give her a cautious pass for that. This typical rich girl is making her own money quite well, thank you very much. I feel she adds to those earnings here and feel she is the one to beat.
#2- Ocean Reef (Chili King Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- Next to our typical rich girl, we have a typical up and comer. This filly by Abra Kadabra has won two of seven career races, and while that number is not going to put you in awe, you have to like how she has adapted to moving to the turf this May. On the main track, she was mediocre at best, with some unimpressive lines in claimers. Toss those away. In May, she was returned to the grass and ran very well in a statebred allowance at SA, running second. That was a sprint, and the trainer extended her to a mile out at BEL for the ungraded $100.000 Wild Applause. How’d that go, you ask? Well, it ended up with her in the winners circle! Her career is on the right track, and she’s ready to make some noise again here in her home state!
#3- I Billieve (Sharis Stables, ridden by G L Stevens)- I’ll start by saying I love the name on this one. Unfortunately, it will lead to a Buffalo Bills analogy with her, you know, in regards to their Super Bowl history (understand that I am a Giants fan with Bills fans siblings, so this never gets old). Like that football team, I Billieve has not been able to win the big one. Her career has been good overall, with two wins in eleven starts, but neither of those wins were in a stake. She ran in the BC last fall, in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, but could not hit the board. She has had some Norwoodian close finishes recently, including being second in the $100.000 Soaring Softly stakes. In all seriousness now, she extends her distance to a mile for the first time in her career, and recently she has been running out of race track in longer sprints. This is a good spot for her, but at the same time she is up against the toughest competition that she has seen in a while.
#4- Miss Optimist (Mb Stables, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- She has the rich parents that Typical Rich Girl actually didn’t have. In fact, she is actually royally bred by being by Commanding, who needs no further introduction, but also being out of All Of The Lights. That mare earned $975.840 over the course of her career, with three Grade 2 victories. Miss Optimist has not quite succeeded to a high level yet, and this will be her second graded stake start. The first one was nine months ago. She’s won two of ten, but has not won since August. Maybe she just likes summer time though, as evidence by her performances last year. The last two starts have been in optional claimers, and she’ll have two months of rest coming into this. She’s named well given all of this, but you never count out anything by this trainer.
#5- Wonder By Wonder (Canadian Racing, ridden by F Prat)- On the outside, we come to an Ontario-bred that has been very consistent in her still young career. She only has five career starts, but she has left no one wondering about her talent, as it was clearly evident by her three victories, and always being in the top three. Over the course of those starts, the trainer has methodically moved her forward, and his filly has responded nicely. Her stake debut came in the $75.000 China Doll at SA, and she won the race. The next stop was her graded debut, at the same race track, for the Grade 3 Senorita in May, and she won in an HRP-rout of three lengths! Her last race saw her place third in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes, but she topped Typical Rich Girl in that nine furlong race by a nose.