Tyler Gaffalione aboard Spendarella after winning the 2022 Del Mar Oaks
The highlight race at Del Mar on Saturday was the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, looking for automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Distaff under the Challenge Series program. Conditions were excellent in San Diego County with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70s for the 13,182 fans in attendance. After Rhea Moon scratched, a field of 13 went to post with Appalachian Stakes (G2) winner Spendarella sent off as the 6-5 favorite off her second place finish in the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot. In to challenge her included 7-2 second choice Bellabel, winner of the San Clemente (G2), and 9-2 third choice Cairo Memories, fifth in the Belmont Oaks (G1) after winning the Honeymoon (G3).
Spendarella leads down the stretch in the Del Mar Oaks
Jockey Joe Bravo sent 16-1 Gracelund Gray to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 23.82 and 47.05 while pressed by Cairo Memories and stalked by Spendarella. On the far turn Gracelund Gray tired allowing Cairo Memories to inherit the lead through 3/4 in 1:10.71. Into the lane, jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent Spendarella 3 wide to sweep to the front through 1 mile in 1:35.09. Kept to task by Gaffalione, Spendarella drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths over late-running Bellabel in 1:47.09. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Cairo Memories third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 11 Spendarella Gaffalione 4.40 3.20 2.40 2 Bellabel Rispoli 4.00 2.80 5 Cairo Memories Smith 3.00 Winning Time: 1:47.09 $1 Exacta 11-2 8.10 $2 Quinella 2-11 11.60 $1 Trifecta 11-2-5 26.60 $1 Superfecta 11-2-5-6 659.40Results Chart
Left: Spendarella in the winner's circle. Alice Clapham, assistant to winning trainer Graham Motion said, "When he got the nice spot coming in the bend and she relaxed it was like, if she's good enough, she's going to win. And then when she kicked for home and left them, that was pretty incredible."
Right: Spendarella in the paddock. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, "I had a terrific trip. She broke alertly and we took up a good spot behind the speed. When we cleared the chute, she dropped the bit and relaxed. She's special. I have to give Graham and his team all the credit. I'm just happy I got to ride her. I don't get to ride too many like her."
Left: Second place finisher Bellabel in the post parade. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 8 starts, earning $255,435 for owners Agave Racing Stable, Benowitz Family Trust, CYBT, Michael Nentwig, and Ray Pagano.
Right: Third place finisher Cairo Memories in the paddock before the race. The Robert Hess Jr. trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 9 starts, earning $418,500 for owners David Bernsen and Schroeder Farms.
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