Rick and Sharon Waller’s homebred filly Spectator was the runaway winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar, vying for the lead throughout and galloping through the wire with a four-length margin of victory. The 2-year-old daughter of Jimmy Creed, ridden by Jamie Theriot for trainer Phil D’Amato, covered 6 1/2 furlongs over the fast main track in 1:17.66. Dancing Belle was second and Terra’s Angel third; race favorite Surrender Now was eased at the head of the lane.
“After she broke her maiden the way she did (by 5 ¼ lengths on June 23 at Santa Anita), we just kind of let her grow up these past few weeks,” D’Amato said. “This (race) has been on the radar from the get-go and we just let her mature and she sure did. She’s still trying to figure it out in some ways. She’s just a bunch of raw talent and she’s getting better and better.”
Through early fractions of :21.93 and :45.05, Spectator was dogging the favored Surrender Now on the outside as the field of seven juvenile fillies raced down the backstretch. Around the far turn, Surrender Now suddenly dropped out of the race and fell back, eased to the wire. Both Terra’s Angel and Dancing Belle gave chase down the lane, but Spectator burst away from the field in the final eighth of a mile to win by at least four lengths. Dancing Belle finished ahead of Terra’s Angel for the place, and Diamondsandpearls was fourth.
“She was a runner all the way,” said Theriot. “She broke sharp and she went on with it. Phil (trainer D’Amato) said ‘Ride it as it comes up.’ That’s what I did. I think she’ll run on, too.”
Bred in Kentucky by her owners, Spectator is out of the unraced Henny Hughes mare Diva’s Tribute. The filly won at first asking in late June at Santa Anita, and her two victories have her with earnings of just over $ 150,000.
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