08/20/2016 8:31PM

Alvarado puts Harmonize in perfect position to win Del Mar Oaks

Benoit & Associates
Harmonize splits horses under Junior Alvarado to win the Del Mar Oaks.

DEL MAR, Calif.- Harmonize was behind the leaders and between fillies with a quarter-mile remaining in Saturday’s $301,725 Del Mar Oaks on turf. For jockey Junior Alvarado, Harmonize was in the perfect spot.

“She likes to run between horses,” Alvarado said. “She wants to be in a fight.”

Harmonize ($9.20) had a perfect run through the stretch. Alvarado guided Harmonize between runners in the final furlong to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks by a head over 9-1 Decked Out. Stays In Vegas, who led by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go, finished third, a nose behind Decked Out.

The Del Mar Oaks was the first stakes win at the San Diego-area track for Alvarado, a fixture on the New York circuit. Harmonize gave trainer Bill Mott his second Grade 1 win on Saturday. He won the Grade 1 Fourstardave Stakes on turf at Saratoga earlier in the afternoon with Tourist.

Mott said earlier in the week that he shipped Harmonize to California to avoid the star turf filly Catch a Glimpse and to determine whether Harmonize belonged in Grade 1 races.

Alvarado is the only jockey to ride Harmonize. He was aboard the filly for stakes wins at Saratoga and Keeneland last year and at Belmont Park in June, the Wonder Again Stakes. Harmonize was fifth in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks on July 9 with a wide trip, a style Alvarado said did not suit the filly.

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In the Del Mar Oaks, Harmonize was seventh for the first six furlongs. Alvarado said he opted to keep Harmonize between horses and avoid a wide trip, hoping his filly could be effective by staying toward the inside.

“I had a chance to move outside, but I thought I’d stay in and take a chance,” Alvarado said.  “She gave me a nice run at the end.”

Harmonize ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.71. Mokat, the 3-1 favorite, finished fourth, followed by Tin Type Gal, Barleysugar, Mines and Magic, Cheekaboo, Lady Valeur, and Lynne’s Legacy.

Harmonize, by Scat Daddy, has won 4 of 9 starts and $484,260. Owned by Larkin Armstrong, Harmonize has won two graded stakes. She won the Grade 3 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland last October.