Baffert: This Year’s Debutante Could Be One Of The Toughest

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has had representatives in the Del Mar Debutante, and race winners, for more than 20 years.

Batroyale in 1995 was the first of seven winners in the championship event for 2-year-old fillies of the summer meeting that Baffert has saddled.

But when he considered the talent assembling for the 68th running of the Debutante on Saturday afternoon, Baffert came to a strong conclusion.

“Gonna be a tough race,” Baffert said. “Gonna be one of the toughest Debutantes I’ve ever been in. You’ve got three outstanding fillies and it’s going to be a tough deal.”

Two of the three that Baffert referred to are Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Brill, a $1 million sale purchase a year ago who looked worth the price in a debut win here on July 18, and Simon Callaghan-trained Bellafina, who took the Grade II Sorrento Stakes on August 5 by 4 ¼ lengths.

The third would be Baffert’s own Mother Mother, his choice from four fillies who showed Debutante potential in works or races this summer from the 22 he nominated (of a total 162) for the race.

Baffert, who has had multiple entries in the Debutante several times in the past, opted for Mother Mother, a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile who debuted with a 6 ½-length victory at six furlongs here on July 22,  after she worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Monday morning. Chasing Yesterday, a half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, has been sent to Saratoga. Der Lu and The Aurelia Factor, debut winners at the meet, await later assignments.

The Debutante is a seven-furlong main track test with the winner securing  Grade I victory status and a $180,000 share of the $300,000 purse.

“I was happy with her, she’s doing everything right,” Baffert said.

The field for the Debutante was to be drawn later Wednesday. The entries in alphabetical order are: Bellafina (Flavien Prat), Boujie Girl (Geovanni Franco), Brill (Drayden Van Dyke), Mother Mother (Joe Talamo) and Watch Me Burn (Alonso Quinonez).

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