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DEL MAR : Unbeaten Sardula Easily Wins the Debutante for Mayberry


DEL MAR — It doesn't make any difference whether Sardula is beating maidens or running in a $250,000 stake.

The fluid-moving 2-year-old filly, a winner here by 10 lengths a month ago in her first start, humiliated seven rivals Saturday in the Del Mar Debutante, coasting to a 7 1/2-length victory before a crowd of 17,164.

The West Coast might not have much depth in the division, but it has Sardula and Rhapsodic, winner of the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park and another 2-year-old filly who's owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by Brian Mayberry. Rhapsodic was kept out of Debutante because of a cough.

Phone Chatter, the 2-1 second choice behind the 7-10 Sardula, broke poorly for the second consecutive race, was next to last before she began picking up horses down the backstretch and made up ground through the stretch to finish second, a neck in front of Ballerina Gal.

Sardula paid $3.40 for $2 and ran seven furlongs in 1:21 3/5. A daughter of Storm Cat and Honor An Offer, a Hoist The Flag mare, Sardula was bought at a yearling auction for $110,000 and earned $137,500.

"She was a very good filly right from the beginning," Mayberry said. "She looks like the real thing. There's always some question when you put a lightly raced horse in against more experienced horses. The good ones have an economy of motion and she has that."

Sardula broke on top under Eddie Delahoussaye and had only Stellar Cat, another Storm Cat filly, to worry about down the backstretch. The first quarter mile went by in 21 4/5 and the timer registered 44 3/5 for the half-mile and 1:09 1/5 for six furlongs.

At the top of the stretch, Delahoussaye used his whip just once, hitting Sardula on the right side as she disposed of Stellar Cat. Delahoussaye switched hands and waved the stick at Sardula the rest of the way.

"She's still green, but man is she good," Delahoussaye said. "She ducked on me twice coming out of the chute (at the start), and she was gawking. When that other filly ran up alongside me on the backstretch, I wasn't worried. I could feel I had a ton of filly under me. When I showed her the whip left-handed, she went on about it. I'll tell you, she's the best 2-year-old filly I've been on--of any kind--in many a year. It's not just the time she ran today . . . but it's just the way she did it and the feel she gave me. She could be anything. Touch wood. I think I'm going to have some fun with this one."

Mayberry dominated the big 2-year-old stakes at Hollywood Park, Ramblin Guy complementing Rhapsodic's win by capturing the Hollywood Juvenile, and Ramblin Guy will give the trainer a chance for a similar sweep here in the season- ending Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 15.


Kotashaan figures to be an odds-on favorite for the fourth consecutive start when he faces six others today in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap.

Kotashaan is 4-5 on the morning line, followed by Luazur at 3-1 and Beyton, Kotashaan's stablemate, at 5-1.

Kotashaan has won four in a row, the last two the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita and the Eddie Read Handicap here. Kent Desormeaux, who has ridden the French-bred 5-year-old throughout the streak, has the mount again today.

Luazur is also a French-bred, a 4-year-old colt who has three wins, a second and two thirds in eight starts. In the United States, Luazur has a fifth in the Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park in July and a win in the Escondido Handicap here on Aug. 14. At 1 3/8 miles, the Escondido is the same distance as today's stake.

Pat Day, the Midwest-based jockey who was elected into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1991, scored his first Del Mar stakes win while riding Luazur in the Escondido, and returns to ride the gray horse today. Day, who ranks ninth nationally this year with a purse total of $5.4 million, will also be riding at Del Mar Monday, taking the mount on Hawk Spell in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby. Hawk Spell and Luazur are trained by Bobby Frankel, who's No. 1 in the country with $5.2 million in purses.

Star Of Cozzene, who beat Kotashaan three consecutive times last winter before today's favorite began his winning streak, won the Arlington Million a week ago today. Barry Irwin, the president of Team Valor, the syndicate that races Star Of Cozzene, takes exception to references that Kotashaan is the best grass horse in the country.

"We beat everybody that showed up in Chicago," Irwin said. "As far as I'm concerned, we have the most consistent horse, and I think we're the favorite (for horse of the year, not just best turf horse), and the title is there for us to win or lose."

Members of the Star Of Cozzene syndicate will meet this week to discuss plans for the horse.

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