The last time the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita in 1993, trainer Richard Mandella won the Juvenile Fillies with Phone Chatter.
Ten years later, with racing’s biggest day scheduled for Arcadia again Oct. 25, history might very well repeat.
Halfbridled, a 2-year-old daughter of Unbridled, looks like the best of her class at this point after her victory in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante on Saturday.
Owned by Wertheimer Farm, the 8-5 second choice gave jockey Julie Krone her second Grade I win in less than a week, easily beating 8-1 third choice Hollywood Story, favored Victory U.S.A. and three other outclassed fillies.
In giving Mandella his first Debutante victory, Halfbridled, who the trainer said reminded him of Phone Chatter when he first saw her, completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.20 while winning by five lengths. This came a little more than a month after she broke into the game with a 4 1/2-length victory.
“She’s a big, tall rangy filly and she had an air about her, pretty much what we saw in [Phone Chatter] when she came in,” said Mandella. “So far, she’s doing pretty well.”
With nine days left in the meet, Patrick Valenzuela holds a 39-35 lead over Krone in the jockey’s race.
The two riders will meet in a match race a week from today. The two horses in the 1 1/16-mile contest will be the Baffert-trained Oopstheregoes and Chester’s Choice, who is trained by Summer Mayberry. Valenzuela and Krone find out which horse they will ride Thursday.
Jockey Gary Stevens, who was injured while riding Storming Home in the Arlington Million on Aug. 16, is scheduled to return to ride Fly to the Wire in Friday’s El Cajon Stakes.
Jockey John Velazquez won four times Saturday to break the record for most wins at a Saratoga meet, but the race he wanted most escaped him.
Chapel Royal, the 3-5 favorite and unbeaten in his first three starts, had to settle for second behind 12-1 shot Silver Wagon, who dominated under jockey Jerry Bailey in the $200,000 Hopeful Stakes.
Velazquez has 59 wins at Saratoga. Bailey set the old record of 55 in 2001.