Royal Touch heads a field of 11 fillies and mares in Saturday's 37th edition of the Palomar Handicap at Del Mar.
The Grade II affair on the turf will carry a gross purse of $110,700 and a winner's share of $65,700.
Royal Touch, who will be ridden by Russell Baze, has been assigned top weight of 120 pounds for the 1-1/16th mile feature and has drawn post No. 8.
Here's the complete lineup for the Palomar in post position order, with weights and riders: Jabalina Brown, 112 pounds, Corey Nakatani; Stylish Star, 116, Patrick Valenzuela; Estrella Fuega, 113, Kent Desormeaux; Down Again, 113, Corey Black; Sweet Roberta, 113, Rafael Meza; Nikishka, 117, Gary Stevens; Invited Guest, 116, Robbie Davis; Royal Touch; Formidable Lady, 112, Julio Garcia; Rosadora, 113, Alex Solis, and Daring Doone, 115, Eddie Delahoussaye.
At Del Mar, all mile and one-sixteenth and mile and one-eighth turf races start in the infield chute and run directly toward the grandstand before turning onto the main course.
Royal Touch has yet to win a race in the United States, though the Irish-bred, European-raced mare has come very close on several occasions. At the Santa Anita meeting this year, the daughter of Tap On Wood was beaten by a nose in the Santa Barbara Handicap by Brown Bess and by a head in the Santa Ana Handicap by Annoconnor. Both of those races were Grade I turf contests. Additionally, she shows a second, a third and a fourth in other major stakes events stateside going back to November. She has earned $319,714.
Nikishka, a royally bred miss by Nijinsky out of the Never Bend mare Bendara, is a multiple stakes winner who won both her starts at Del Mar last summer, including the Osunitas Handicap at a mile on the grass. The Kentucky-bred has won seven races and has earnings of $386,675.
Invited Guest is the top money-winner in the field; she has earned $717,904. The 6-year-old chestnut by Be My Guest has won 10 of 33 starts and has seven seconds and three thirds on her ledger.
Stylish Star, another multiple-stakes winner in the lineup, shows five victories and earnings of $353,475 after 21 lifetime starts. Last year the chestnut filly by Our Native won the Del Mar Oaks at nine furlongs on the grass.
Daring Doone is an English-bred by Daring March who has nine wins and $343,823 in purses. She was third to Claire Marine in this race last year and also ran second--beaten by a neck--in the Grade I Ramona Handicap on the same course. Claire Marine did win last year's Palomar in the silks of Port and Whittingham.
In previous years the race has been captured by the likes of Moment To Buy (1984), Kilijaro (1981), Modus Vivendi (1975), Street Dancer (1971), Soldier Girl (1964) and In Reserve (1956).