The $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (GIIT), named for three-time Eclipse Award-winning breeder John Mabee, drew a field of 12 distaffers for the 1 1/8-mile event on Sunday at Del Mar. Mabee owned the renowned Golden Eagle Farm with his wife, Betty Mabee, and a few of the amazing horses who wore the red and gold silks throughout their careers include Best Pal, General Challenge, Dramatic Gold and Excellent Meeting.
Mabee, who passed away in 2002, served as a director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and was a member of The Jockey Club. He also was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Del Mar and served as the track president and chairman for more than 20 years. He was one of the original members of the Board of Directors of the Breeders’ Cup as well. It’s only fitting one of the big races at Del Mar in the summer be named in his honor.
Argentine invader Sobradora Inc captured the Osunitas earlier this month in her stateside debut and appears to be the one to beat in the Mabee. The Simon Callaghan-trained daughter of Include was a group 1 winner in her native Argentina before being purchased by Katsumi Yoshida, a member of the breeding empire known as the Yoshida Family in Japan, to race in America. The 4-year-old filly has trained well all summer, has won her only start over the course and at the distance. Under leading rider Rafael Bejarano, Sobradora Inc looks especially strong in here.
Prize Exhibit, who drew the far outside and will carry Jamie Theriot, was behind Sobradora Inc in the Osunitas last out and though she’s never won at the distance, she is a winner in six tries over the Del Mar turf, with a pair of seconds. She also is grade 1-placed and has earned more than a half-million dollars in her career on two continents. Though she almost always turns in a good performance for trainer Jim Cassidy, she seems like one who, against true distance distaffers, may prefer to go a bit shorter for a win.
Nancy from Nairobi has won half of her career starts in California since she arrived in America from Britain this time last year. She’s an accomplished allowance runner who has struggled some in stakes company, but her last in the Yellow Ribbon resulted in a strong third, beaten three-quarters of a length behind one of the division leaders in She’s Not Here. The 5-year-old daughter of Sixties Icon, who is trained by John Sadler, does have the fact that she’s a closer in a race with some speed on her side and having Mike Smith in the saddle doesn’t hurt either. She has won at the distance and, while she makes her Del Mar turf debut, seems capable of posting her first stakes victory.
Fresh Feline was a strong second in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (GI) last time out and since she’s a winner at extended distances, she shouldn’t have much trouble stretching out from the 1 1/16-mile distance she traveled last out. New jock Santiago Gonzalez rides for John Shirreffs for the first time.
Recent allowance winner Gloryzapper will try to take things gate-to-wire from the rail and has earned some speed figures to suggest she belongs with this bunch.
Elektrum was third to Sobradora Inc last time out and a repeat performance of that effort puts her right in the mix for a larger piece.
Queen of the Sand hasn’t won in eight starts since capturing the Santa Barbara Handicap (GII) in April of 2015 but has been running exclusively in graded company with some success. Her best makes her a contender for a piece of the purse.
Personal Diary ships in with some solid Del Mar-winning connections (trainer Victoria Oliver also trains Yellow Ribbon [GI] winner She’s Not Here) but seems in very tough, especially since her last win came in allowance company in April.
Avenge moves up off a nice allowance win last out and tries stakes again. A good sprinter on the main track, she stretches out in an attempt for her first graded win.
Finest City, though a grade 3 winner, has done her best running sprinting on the main track. She does have Keith Desormeaux tightening the girth and his brother Kent in the irons (we’ve seen this successful team a lot this year), but she has her work cut out for her against the top runners today.
Keri Belle won the Megahertz Stakes (GIIIT) In April but hasn’t shown much in four starts since. She will need her best to be a player.
Havanna Belle is a listed stakes winner who has had trouble in the graded ranks. She will need a career-best performance to pick up a check.