Course: Del Mar
Race: Race 7
Trainer/Jockey: Philip D’Amato – Ramon Vazquez
Breeding: 2-year-old filly; Exceed And Excel – Naruko (Street Cry)
Trainer/Jockey: Philip D’Amato – Flavien Prat
Breeding: 2-year-old filly; Elzaam – Kramer Drive (Medicean)
Horse: Havana Angel
Trainer/Jockey: Leonard Powell – Javier Hernandez
Breeding: 2-year-old filly; Havana Grey – Clarmama (Epaulette)
Three fillies who raced in Europe make their North American debuts here in an intriguing contest. Firstly, let’s take a look at how these horses were rated by Timeform:
Excelia – 80
Thebestisyettobe – 76
Havana Angel – 91
Havana Angel, previously trained by Amy Murphy, is the place to start then on ratings at least. This filly showed promise behind Royal Ascot winner The Ridler at Ripon, but seemingly had her limitations exposed when beaten at Catterick. However, she bolted up 9 lengths in a soft-ground maiden in France next time out – her trained is UK-based but frequently sends horses to France for the better prize-money – and has since gone on to excel herself with a fine third at Chantilly in a Group 3. That looks the best form on offer here, and we think she is capable of running to a Beyer of 75 here, a figure that would give her an excellent chance. Havana Angel’s best form is on softer ground, and she looks to have an action that suggests she will be better with some give, but today’s good ground should be fine. However, there are a couple of small concerns. Firstly, her trainer is not having the best meet, winning at only 3%, and he tends to leave something to work on with his shippers. Finally, the distance is two furlongs further than she has previously tried and there are mixed messages here; while she is by a speed influence, her dam was a winner over 12f.
Excelia is next up, a former inmate of Joseph O’Brien. She is a winner of one of her starts to date, showing moderate enough form on her first three starts before breaking through over 5 furlongs at Naas on her penultimate start. She was upped in grade next time out to Listed level and made little impact, which could have been due to the soft ground, although more likely she was outclassed. Excelia has a bit of stamina on her dam side, but O’Brien described her as a “quick filly”, so this mile distance would have to be a concern. We think she has the ability to run to a Beyer of around 66, although she is in excellent hands coming from the barn of Philip D’Amato.
D’Amato also runs Thebestisyettobe, who is 1-from-1 having won on debut for previous trainer Emmet Mullins. She should stay fine and can be expected to improve a good deal, but her victory came at Gowran Park where she made the running off a slow pace. Gowran has proven to be a very biased track this year, strongly favouring speed, but Thebestisyettobe showed a good attitude that day, was probably only just doing enough and the second and third both came out and won next time out. She is hard to rate off the back of that win, but we project she can run to a 68 Beyer, a figure that would give her a chance, and she has plenty of move-up potential, particularly with Prat aboard.