California Kook © Benoit Photo
Over the 76 years the race has been run, no more than a handful of fillies have stepped up to take on the boys in the Grade II, $200,000 Del Mar Derby. That was until 2020 – the year that has turned everything and everyone sideways.
This year’s edition of the “Derby” will have not one, not two, but three femmes ready to rock ‘n roll with the guys. The mile and one-eighth out of the track’s diagonal turf chute looks more like a European heat, where the girls take on the boys all the time. It also adds a delicious dimension to a test that is the conclusion of the track’s three-race grass series for sophs, led off by the RunHappy Oceanside Stakes and followed up by the La Jolla Handicap.
Sunday’s three fillies – all with serious shots to win the race – are Barber or Wachtel Stable’s California Kook, Benowitz Family Trust and Madaket Stables’ Guitty and Ben and Sally Warren’s Warren’s Showtime.
The possible favorite in the race, though, appears to be the shipper Pixelate, a colt by City Zip who is in from the east coast to tackle the west coasters and making an appearance at his seventh racetrack in what will be his 11th lifetime start. Pixelate is owned by the powerhouse outfit Godolphin and is trained by the veteran Michael Stidham. He’s run in seven straight grass stakes and has finished in the top three in all of them. Having leading rider Umberto Rispoli in the boot Sunday won’t hurt his chances.
Here’s the full field for the Del Mar Derby from the rail out with riders and morning line odds: BKB Stables or Sherman’s American Farmer (Ricky Gonzalez, 20-1); California Kook (Flavien Prat, 5-1); Guitty (Evan Flores, 8-1); Pixelate (3-1); Todd or Shawn Hansen’s No Slo Mo (Giovanni Franco, 30-1); Wertheimer & Frere’s Kanderel (Juan Hernandez, 12-1); Warren’s Showtime (Jose Velez, 6-1); John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1); Paula Capestro’s Dominant Soul (Edwin Maldonado, 20-1); Hronis Racing’s Heywoods Beach (Jose Valdivis, Jr., 12-1); Alfred Pais’ Margot’s Boy (Tiago Pereira, 12-1), and Karl Pergola’s K P All Systems Go (Abel Cedillo, 6-1).
California Kook, a daughter of Boisterous, most recently ran second in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks locally on August 22. She’s been first or second in five of her eight starts for trainer Peter Miller.
Guitty, a French-bred, was a close-up second in the San Clemente on the grass earlier in the meet. The late-running miss works under the watchful eye of the French trainer Leonard Powell.
Warren’s Showtime, bred by his owners, has won five of 12 starts and has banked more than $460,000. She’s a daughter of Clubhouse Ride, who was trained by Craig Lewis, the man who now trains Warren’s Showtime.
The Del Mar Derby will be race No. 10 on the 11-race Sunday program and one of three stakes on the afternoon. First post Sunday is at 1 p.m.