Jockey Shane Sellers and trainer Bill Mott are both batting 1.000 after Bail Out Becky made them winners in their first race at Del Mar.
Overcoming a less-than-perfect trip, the consistent daughter of Red Ransom got up in the final strides to beat Sleep Easy in Sunday’s $250,000 Del Mar Oaks.
The 17-10 favorite against eight other 3-year-old fillies in the Grade I race, Bail Out Becky defeated the 7-2 third choice by a nose in 1:49 3/5 for the 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Bail Out Becky continued to prove she doesn’t need to carry her turf course around with her. The victory Sunday was her sixth in 10 starts on the grass and she has won at five tracks. She’s also unbeaten in California, having won the Miesque last Nov. 26 at Hollywood Park.
With Mott remaining at Saratoga, where he is the runaway leader in the trainer standings, assistant trainer Tim Jones accompanied Bail Out Becky west, like he had for the Miesque.
“I felt like she was coming up to the race very well,” said Jones. “She was in a little tight there, but Shane got her clear and she ran like I thought she could.
“We were a little worried there for a moment. She was down on the rail and it didn’t look like a hole was going to open up. It looked like a horse kind of shut her off, but Shane waited and made the right choice to go to the outside and she came running.”
Sellers, who has five wins and a fourth in six races aboard Bail Out Becky, had an eventful first trip around the tight Del Mar turf course.
“She dropped out of it early,” he said. “She was back farther than I wanted to be because she kind of got shuffled back. I started following somebody ahead of me [longshot Oklahoma Morn], but they were going in, then out and all over the place.
“There was a lot of traffic to deal with. When the stretch came, she got after it. I got her in the clear and she got it done. I didn’t know if I’d make it, but I did. That was close.
“She’s a classy little filly. She makes my job easier.”
Making her turf debut after capturing the Hollywood Oaks last month, Sleep Easy finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the pace-setting Top Ruhl, the longest shot in the field at 37-1, who ran off to a long lead down the backside and was still 1 1/2 lengths in front at the eighth pole before tiring.
“She ran great, but she bobbled about 50 yards from the finish,” said Corey Nakatani of the runner-up. “I don’t know what happened to her. But I had to get her back going again and it may have cost her the race.”
Auriette, the 5-2 second choice, was fourth, then came Jewel Princess, Oklahoma Morn, My Oooo Aah, Pleas Write and Scratch Paper.
Top Ruhl, beaten by a half-length by Sound Wisdom in the Fleet Treat Stakes, gave her connections--owner Kjell Qvale and trainer Linda Cornell--and her supporters a thrill.
“She ran wonderful,” said Corey Black. “No one went early, so I did. She had her ears up and was having fun. She ran great. I asked her and she laid her body down for me. You couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Making only his second start of 1995, Alphabet Soup scored a $25 upset in the $76,325 Harry F. (Bud) Brubaker Handicap, the day’s supporting feature.
Giving Chris McCarron one of his three winners on the card, the 4-year-old Cozzene colt tracked the pace set by Goldigger’s Dream and Straight To Bed, took over into the stretch and went on to win by three lengths in 1:40 4/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Goldigger’s Dream, a 12-1 shot, saved the place by a nose over Lykatill Hil. Rapan Boy, the 9-5 favorite off the strength of his nose loss to Blumin Affair in the San Diego Handicap last month, was eighth in the field of nine.
Trained by David Hofmans for owner Georgia Ridder, Alphabet Soup has four victories in 12 starts and has won two of three at Del Mar.