Winning Del Mar‘s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) more than once has been an excellent barometer of championship-caliber runners, something to keep in mind if Shedaresthedevil can repeat her 2021 Hirsch victory Aug. 6.
Consider that since the former Chula Vista Handicap became the Hirsch in 2000, only three distaffers have won the race two or more times. Should Shedaresthedevil become the fourth, she would join the exalted company of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri (Hirsch winner in 2002-03), 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta (Hirsch winner from 2008-10), and 2015 champion 3-year-old filly Stellar Wind (Hirsch winner in 2016-17).
Those three horses were based in Southern California with trainers Laura De Seroux, John Shirreffs, and John Sadler, respectively. Shedaresthedevil could accomplish something none of those three have—win as a shipper.
Shedaresthedevil began her career in California at 2 under the tutelage of Simon Callaghan. However, since her 3-year-old season, Brad Cox has trained the daughter of Daredevil from his Kentucky base. As Cox did last year, he will ship her in for the Hirsch, a 1 1/16-mile event for females 3-years-old and older that also awards a “Win & You’re In” berth to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Shedaresthedevil’s two victories in five starts since last year’s Hirsch have both come at Churchill Downs. She captured the Sept. 18 Locust Grove Stakes (G3) and July 2 Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2).
“She loves it here at Churchill Downs, and Florent (Geroux) gave her a perfect ride,” said Cox after the Fleur de Lis.
In a bit of serendipity, Geroux is spending the summer at Del Mar and has ridden two winners through Aug. 3. He will be back aboard Shedaresthedevil, who drew post 5 in the field of seven.
Owners Whisper Hill Farm, Flurry Racing Stables, and Qatar Racing bought Shedaresthedevil, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred filly out of Starship Warpspeed , by Congrats , for $5 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale.
Shedaresthedevil will face an entirely new batch of Southern California runners in this edition of the Hirsch. The newcomers are fellow 5-year-olds Samurai Charm and Blue Stripe ; 4-year-olds Private Mission , Soothsay , and Lisette ; and 3-year-old Desert Dawn .
Desert Dawn brings hefty credentials. She is trained by Phil D’Amato, the Santa Anita leading trainer who has taken an early lead at Del Mar. A daughter of the Tapit stallion Cupid out of the Honour and Glory mare Ashley’s Glory , Desert Dawn won this year’s Santa Anita Oaks (G2). Since that effort, she finished third in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Summertime Oaks (G2), stumbling badly at the start of the latter.
The mother-and-daughter team of Elena and Hollie Crim bred Desert Dawn in Arizona in the name of their H & E Ranch, and they also race her.
“She’s adorable—she’s very sweet,” Elena said. “We raised the mother too.”
Desert Dawn drew post 3, and Umberto Rispoli, her jockey throughout 2022, will again ride.
The Hirsch has attracted two Santa Anita Oaks winners. Soothsay won the race in 2021, followed by a second in the Summertime Oaks and a win in the Indiana Oaks (G3). An injury sidelined Soothsay, who hasn’t started since the Indiana Oaks. Richard Mandella trains the Kentucky-bred daughter of Distorted Humor . Mike Smith will ride the filly for the first time, and she drew the rail.
Juan Hernandez, who led jockeys at Santa Anita and is currently atop the Del Mar standings, will pilot Private Mission from post 4. Bob Baffert trains the Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief , though while Baffert was serving his suspension, Sean McCarthy trained her to win the June 18 Santa Maria Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Last year for Baffert, Private Mission won the Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) at Del Mar and Zenyatta Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
Blue Stripe finished second in the Santa Maria and returns in the Hirsch in Post 7 for trainer Marcelo Polanco, who named Hector Berrios to ride. A daughter of Equal Stripes , Blue Stripe won the April 30 Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) in her second U.S. start and was a group 1 winner in her native Argentina.
Samurai Charm (Ramon Vazquez, post 6), owned and bred by J. Kirk and Judy Robison, who also campaign champion male sprinter Jackie’s Warrior , comes into the Hirsch off a second in the Great Lady M. Stakes (G2) at Los Alamitos. The Kentucky-bred daughter of First Samurai was four-for-five last year for trainer Peter Miller. Samurai Charm excels at a mile, and in her only attempt at the Hirsch distance, in last year’s Zenyatta, she finished sixth after leading early.
Lisette (Victor Espinoza, post 2), most recently a winner in allowance/optional claiming company at Santa Anita, is stakes-placed at Sunland Park. Patrick Gallagher trains the Kentucky-bred daughter of Uncle Mo .
Del Mar, Saturday, August 06, 2022, Race 9
- Grade I
- 1 1/16m
- 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
- 6:00 PM (local)