08/29/2012 4:34PM

Del Mar notes: Miller closing in on first training title

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Peter Miller, pictured with Majestic City last fall, is closing in on his first training title at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The racing week began at Del Mar on Wednesday with trainer Peter Miller on the verge of his first training title and well on his way to the best season of his career.

Saturday, he could have his first Grade 1 win in nearly two years when he starts as many as three fillies in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs.

Through Sunday, Miller was tied with Doug O’Neill with 18 wins at the meeting. O’Neill will not add to his total. He began a 40-day suspension on Aug. 19 for a medication violation from 2010.

Miller, 45, had two winners last week to reach 18 for the meeting, which began July 18. Adding a few more this week can help him hold off trainers such as Bob Baffert (16 wins) or John Sadler (15), who also are having excellent seasons here. The season ends Sept. 5.

“I need three or four wins this week,” he said. “We can win this meet.”

Miller is close to personal bests for wins and earnings in a year. Last year, he won 55 races and had stable earnings of $2,225,704. Through Sunday, he had won 47 races this year and earned $2,081,731.

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A win in the Del Mar Debutante by a Miller-trained filly would be an upset. The unbeaten Executiveprivilege will be a strong favorite. Miller is starting Heir Kitty and Miss Empire, who were second and third against males in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes here Aug. 5, and possibly Speedinthruthecity.

All three were entered Wednesday, although Speedinthruthecity could start in the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf over a mile on Monday.

In the Del Mar Debutante, they could give Miller his first Grade 1 win since Comma to the Top won the CashCall Futurity in December 2010.

Heir Kitty will race for owner Paul Makin, who recently acquired a majority share in the filly by Wildcat Heir, Miller said. The filly will have a new rider in Corey Nakatani, who replaces David Flores.

Miller described the change as an “owner’s decision.”

“We thought going forward it was the best move,” he said. “David didn’t do anything wrong.”

The Del Mar Debutante is expected to have nine entrants. Aside from Miller’s three fillies and Executiveprivilege, the candidates are Beholder, Mechaya, Pat’s Back, Renees Titan, and Wasted at Midnight.

Executiveprivilege, trained by Baffert, won the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes here Aug. 8 for her second stakes win and third overall victory.

13 stakes in stretch run of meet

Beginning Friday through closing day on Sept. 5, there are 13 stakes ranging in values from $85,000 to $300,000. The Del Mar Debutante and the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5 are the only Grade 1 races in that span.

The Del Mar Futurity is likely to have a field of eight or more. Know More, who won the Best Pal Stakes in his career debut, will be favored. He is trained by Leandro Mora, O’Neill’s assistant, while O’Neill is suspended.

The other possible starters are Capo Bastone, Dry Summer, Gabriel Charles, Pure Loyalty, Scherer Magic, Yankee Rebel, and the filly Switch to the Lead.

Wednesday, Capo Bastone, a maiden race winner on Aug. 4, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60.

Jeff Mullins trains Dry Summer and Gabriel Charles, both maiden race winners. Wednesday, Dry Summer worked five furlongs in 1:00.20, while Gabriel Charles worked the same distance in 59.80 seconds. Both would need to be supplemented to the Del Mar Futurity for $10,000 when entries are taken Saturday.

Obviously targets Arroyo Seco Mile

Obviously, who won the Del Mar Mile on turf Sunday, and Camp Victory, who finished third in the Pat O’Brien for sprinters earlier on that card, both will make their next start at Santa Anita in preparation for Breeders’ Cup races there Nov. 3, according to Phil D’Amato, assistant to Mike Mitchell, who trains both.

“Both came out of their races in great shape,” said D’Amato, who said Obviously could make his next start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Arroyo Seco Mile on Oct. 6 prior to the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf.

As for Camp Victory, “We’re looking at all our options,” D’Amato said. He said Camp Victory is under consideration for three Breeders’ Cup races – the Turf Sprint, the Sprint, and the Dirt Mile.

D’Amato said Camp Victory could make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Eddie D Stakes on Sept. 28, a race, like the Turf Sprint, that is at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

“That would be a good stepping-stone,” he said.

Capital Account won the seven-furlong O’Brien, with Coil second. Bob Baffert, who trains those horses, said Coil will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3, but he is not sure what his plans are for Capital Account.

“He likes seven-eighths,” Baffert said.

There are no Breeders’ Cup races at seven furlongs. The BC Sprint is at six furlongs.

◗ Jockey Agapito Delgadillo was fined $300 by Del Mar’s stewards for “failure to ride his mount out until the finish line is passed” aboard Trice Up in the second race last Friday. Trice Up finished fifth, losing fourth by a head.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman