08/17/2013 2:25PM

Del Mar: Keeneland's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup next target for Sarach

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Benoit & Associates
Sarach, winning Friday's Sandy Blue Handicap, will be pointed to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland's fall meet.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Sarach is headed to Keeneland this fall after winning her second stakes of 2013 in Friday’s $95,700 Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar.

Trainer Richard Mandella said the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, a Grade 1 for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Keeneland on Oct. 12, is the next goal for Sarach. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is one of the nation’s top races for 3-year-old fillies each year.

“I’ll point her for that,” Mandella said. “I’d like to see if we can get into that race at Keeneland.”

A winner of 4 of 10 starts and $246,562, Sarach won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park, but was fourth in the Grade  1 American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles on turf there on July 13. Mandella considered another Grade 1 race for Sarach, the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Saturday, but opted for the easier Sandy Blue Handicap over a mile.

“It was tempting to take a run at the Oaks, but I thought she looked good in this spot,” he said.

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Sarach, an Arch filly who races for breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, raced on the lead earlier this year. In the Sandy Blue, she stalked pacesetter Pontchatrain before taking the lead in early stretch.

“The other horse showed speed,” winning jockey Martin Garcia said of Pontchatrain. Sarach “was comfortable. She was relaxed. When I turned for home, she let go.”

Mandella said that teaching Sarach patience has been a goal this summer. “We retrained her,” he said.

Sarach ($8.20) ran a mile on turf in 1:33.94, finishing a length in front of 26-1 Miss Empire in the field of nine. Pontchatrain, the 2-1 favorite, faded to finish fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

Goldencents posts bullet workout

Goldencents, second in the Grade  1 Bing Crosby Stakes here on July 28, worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 on Saturday, the fastest of 20 recorded works at the distance.

The winner of the Santa Anita Derby in April, Goldencents is scheduled to make his next start in the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes over seven furlongs on Aug. 25. The Grade 2 Pat O’Brien is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in November.

Goldencents is expected to be favored in the Pat O’Brien. He is trained by Doug O’Neill, whose stable was in excellent form from Aug. 7 through Friday, winning with 12 of 32 starters.

The Grade 2 Pat O’Brien is one of three stakes on Aug. 25, a program led by the $1 million Pacific Classic. The card also includes the $200,000 Del Mar Mile on turf.

Game On Dude, the winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on July 6, will be favored in the Pacific Classic, run over 1 1/4 miles on the main track. He has 11 expected rivals – Byrama, Delegation, Dullahan, Endorsement, Farraaj, Hawk’s Eyes, Jeranimo, Kettle Corn, Liaison, Richard’s Kid, and You Know I Know.

Endorsement was purchased privately by BG Stables and transferred to trainer Hector Palma earlier this summer. In his first start for them, Endorsement finished second in the Wickerr Stakes over a mile on turf on July 24.

A winner of 4 of 15 starts and $648,788, Endorsement won the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in 2012 when trained by Eoin Harty. Friday, Endorsement worked six furlongs in 1:12 at Del Mar.

Palma expects the 6-year-old Endorsement to be near the front in the Pacific Classic, and says the race is worth a gamble.

“I have to give it a try,” Palma said. “I don’t have anything to lose.”