08/31/2013 8:47PM

Del Mar: Blinkers help She's a Tiger take Del Mar Debutante

Benoit & Associates
Gary Stevens guides She's a Tiger to her third win in four starts in the Del Mar Debutante.

DEL MAR, Calif. - A new distance, new equipment, and a confident ride helped She’s a Tiger win Saturday’s $300,750 Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies.

Racing at seven furlongs for the first time, and wearing blinkers for the first time, She’s a Tiger ($11) had an ideal trip under jockey Gary Stevens to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante by a half-length over 6-1 maiden Fascinating.

The win left Stevens eager to ride She’s a Tiger in route races this fall.

“I think she’ll get better going two turns,” he said. “She’s got a stride that’s a mile long.”

In the Debutante, the top race of the Del Mar meeting for 2-year-old fillies, She’s a Tiger was timed in 1:22.71.

She’s a Tiger was always near the front. Awesome Baby, the even-money favorite, led by a head over She’s a Tiger after an opening quarter-mile in 22.39 seconds. Racing outside of the favorite, She’s a Tiger was always within a half-length of the leader, and took control of the race on the turn.

Stevens said he had his hands full on the backstretch.

“She settled for me,” Stevens said. “At the three-quarter pole, she ducked in with me and I had to grab her a little. She was pulling pretty hard.”

She’s a Tiger led by 2 1/2 lengths in the stretch. Fascinating finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Concave, who was followed by Secret Compass, Southern Sunshine, Bajan, Awesome Baby, and Sprouts in the field of eight.

She’s a Tiger races for Mark DeDomenico, Allen Aldrich, Lisa Hernandez, and Stuart Downey. A Tale of the Cat filly trained by Jeff Bonde, She’s a Tiger has won 3 of 4 starts and earned $315,650.

She’s a Tiger beat maidens in her debut at Pleasanton in June and won her Southern California debut in the Landaluce Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 13. She finished second by a half-length to Concave in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes here on Aug. 7, a loss that led Bonde to fit the filly with blinkers.

“She was so dominant with the northern horses,” Bonde said. “She got herself beat when she was second. She ran spotty. In the works, the blinkers made a huge difference.”

She’s a Tiger is a half-sister to the millionaire Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger, who was trained by Bonde.

“That’s special for me,” Bonde said.