09/17/2010 4:16PM

Debonair Darling stepping up to stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. – The improving Debonair Darling faces her toughest test Sunday in the $75,000 Politely Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park.

A 4-year-old trained by Greg Sacco, Debonair Darling makes her stakes debut against nine rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race.

She has run four times this year, all at Monmouth, with three seconds and a third in second-level allowances.

Sacco had hoped to knock off that condition before sending Debonair Darling into the stakes fray. But time and circumstances have a way of changing plans.

The season is getting late, and there won’t be too many more races for Debonair Darling this year at Monmouth. where she is 2-3-2 in seven career starts.

And she has never been better. Debonair Darling posted a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 94 in her latest effort, a second to Harissa, the Sunland Park Oaks winner.

“To step up to stakes, we thought she had to get into the 90 Beyer range, and she did that last time,” Sacco said. “The horse who beat her last time was a really good 3-year-old. Debonair Darling really has an affinity for Monmouth Park, and if she can duplicate or improve on that last effort, we’ll be all right.”

For fillies, stakes wins or placings are all important for enhancing broodmare value.

“Unfortunately, she’s been a bridesmaid three times against some tough competitors,” Sacco said. “She’s at her home base. She’s doing well, training well. We hope she can step up and get a stakes win or at least get stakes-placed.”

Elvis Trujillo will be aboard.

Starship Angel and Million Seller have both faced some of the division leaders this year.

Last time out, Starship Angel was fourth to Malibu Prayer in the Grade 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap at Saratoga.

She also ran fourth to Life At Ten and Just Jenda in her prior two races.

Eddie Castro gets the mount from trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Million Seller missed by a neck in her most recent effort, a third level allowance at Saratoga. Before that, Million Seller was sixth to Life At Ten in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. Back in June, Million Seller beat Debonair Darling in her only previous Monmouth appearance.

Eibar Coa rides for trainer H. Graham Motion.

All Night Labor has run twice at Monmouth, finishing second both times in stakes including last year’s Politely.