08/24/2012 3:20PM

Del Mar notes: Executiveprivilege set for Del Mar Debutante

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Benoit & Associates
Executiveprivilege is the likely favorite for the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Executiveprivilege, unbeaten in three starts, can solidify her role as the leading 2-year-old filly in California when she makes her Grade 1 debut in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1.

Friday, trainer Bob Baffert said that Executiveprivilege was fit and ready for the seven-furlong Debutante, the summertime championship for the division. Executiveprivilege has started once at this meeting, winning the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 8.

“The Sorrento was a big race,” Baffert said. “She’s holding her form. She worked nicely the other day.”

Owned by Karl Watson, Paul Weitman, and Mike Pegram, Executiveprivilege, by First Samurai, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 on Monday.

She could give Baffert his seventh win in the Del Mar Debutante and first since Point Ashley in 2006.

Executiveprivilege’s major rivals are Beholder, a sharp maiden race winner July 22, and Heir Kitty, who was second against males in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 5.

Heir Kitty is trained by Peter Miller who said Friday that he could have three runners in the Del Mar Debutante, including Miss Empire, who was third in the Best Pal, and Speedinthruthecity, who was second in the Sorrento.

Other probable starters are the maiden race winner Mechaya, and Switch to the Lead and Wittgenstein, who were third and sixth in the Sorrento.

Byrne gets Del Mar win with Zimmer

Zimmer, a 6-year-old horse, gave owner Jack Mandato and trainer Patrick Byrne a highly lucrative journey to Del Mar on Thursday.

Based in Kentucky with Byrne, Zimmer ($31.80) was shipped to Del Mar last weekend and won an optional claimer over a mile on turf in Thursday’s seventh race. Zimmer earned $55,750 – $43,800 for first-place and $11,950 in bonuses as a shipper who had not raced in California in the past six months.

Byrne credited Mandato with the plan to race in California.

“I feel like I won a stakes,” a beaming Byrne said. “Jack wanted to run his horse out here. I thought it was a tough race.”

Ridden by Mike Smith, Zimmer closed from fourth in the final quarter-mile to finish a neck in front of 9-2 Leaving New York. Zimmer, named for the famous baseball manager Don Zimmer, a friend of Mandato’s, has won 5 of 19 starts.

Zimmer was entered for a $62,500 claiming price, but there were no claims.

Byrne said that Take Charge Indy, winner of the Florida Derby earlier this year who was 19th in the Kentucky Derby, has returned to training with the goal of starting at Keeneland this fall.

Velazquez to ride Capo Bastone

Jockey John Velazquez, recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, will ride Capo Bastone in the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5, according to a statement released by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

Eclipse owns Capo Bastone, a maiden race winner Aug. 4 who is trained by John Sadler.

On Sept. 5, Velazquez is scheduled to ride the European import Parisian Prince in the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Turf over a mile. Parisian Prince won his only start at Ayr, Scotland, in July.

Olympians in winner’s circle

Thursday was a day for Olympians in the winner’s circle.

Bode Miller, who won five medals in alpine skiing in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010, was the winning co-owner of Carving in the third race. A 2-year-old maiden claimer, Carving is co-owned by Jill and Bob Baffert.

A few races later, Alex Morgan, part of the gold medal-winning U.S. women’s soccer team at the London Olympics earlier this month, was honored in the winner’s circle. Morgan, a Southern California native who came to the races with her family, said she has been an annual visitor at Del Mar.