08/05/2013 3:17PM

Del Mar: Pick-six carryover sees O’Neill as prime force

Benoit & Associates
Concave has the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the Sorrento field.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – It is tough enough at Del Mar lately to pick one winner at a time. String together six winners? Good luck with that.

The fourth carryover in six days is up for grabs Wednesday when a $265,129 carryover is likely to attract another $1.5 million. The man in the spotlight is trainer Doug O’Neill, with two promising juvenile fillies among his entrants in four of the pick-six races.

O’Neill starts outstanding debut winner Concave against She’s a Tiger and Stop Smiling in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes, race 7. And in race 4, the Group 3-placed European import Clenor makes her U.S. debut in a turf route for maiden fillies.

“She’s a Breeders’ Cup filly in my mind,” O’Neill said. In the minds of bettors, Clenor might be a pick-six single as the “class” of the field. As for the 6 1/2-furlong Sorrento, O’Neill-trained Concave faces a tough task.

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Seven entered the $150,000 race in which Concave concedes experience to 2-for-2 She’s a Tiger. Trained by Jeff Bonde, the sibling to Grade 1 sprinter Smiling Tiger won her debut at Pleasanton and the Landaluce Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

She’s a Tiger earned a mere 63 Beyer Speed Figure in the Landaluce. Bonde was more concerned with finish position.

“She was taking a jump in distance, and we shipped her to run,” he said. “She ran a good race, I thought. I’m kind of a dinosaur. It’s the company you keep, not the times.”

Handicappers may debate Bonde on that point, but there is no doubt the Landaluce win by She’s a Tiger was visually more impressive than the figure.

“She’s a large horse with a long stride and well made,” Bonde said. “And she kept running.”

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

She’s a Tiger set a strong pace and won by three-quarters of a length. Racing on Del Mar’s Polytrack will be new, but Bonde said “down here, she’s trained very well.” A five-furlong work July 27 was third-fastest of 68. She blew out Sunday in 35.80 seconds. Frank Alvarado rides the 5-2 favorite.

Despite her inexperience, Concave fits in the Sorrento. Her debut was on turf, and it was terrific.

“Five-eighths on turf was not our first call,” O’Neill admitted. “She was ready, and that spot was right there. We were really happy with her.”

It was for good reason. Concave broke well, let the speed clear, moved two wide to press the pace full of run, and kicked away by 3 1/4 lengths. She earned a 76 Beyer, tops in the Sorrento field. Mario Gutierrez is back aboard Wednesday.

The dueling styles of Concave and She’s a Tiger could set it up for Stop Smiling, who won her debut from off the pace for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. A sibling to 2011 Del Mar Debutante winner Weemissfrankie, Stop Smiling will roll late under Julien Leparoux.

Other entrants in the Sorrento include Side Letter, E Equalsmcsquared, Santa Lucia, and O’Neill-trained Love Smitten.

Here is a look at the other pick-six races.

◗ Race 3, a sprint for $20,000 filly-mare claimers, features a traditional pace play. Queen of the Hill is lone speed in the field of seven. Listed at 5-1 on the pre-scratch morning line, she could be long gone under Kayla Stra. Addendum is the 5-2 favorite on track linemaker Russ Hudak’s early line.

◗ Race 4 will be the U.S. debut of Clenor. O’Neill said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson and adviser Steve Rothblum scouted her in Europe and put together the deal.

“We haven’t had her that long, she’s trained really well,” O’Neill said.

Rafael Bejarano breezed her July 31, liked her, and rides her. Clenor is the 5-2 favorite.

“With her European form, she should be tough,” O’Neill said.

◗ Race 5 is a $30,000 maiden-claimer for 2-year-old fillies. Pick-six bettors may need to spread. Contenders include droppers Pining Play and Tribal Tattoo, and second-time starter Wickedly Sassy. The 3-1 pre-scratch favorite is also-eligible Slewthatflew.

◗ Race 6 is a good second-level allowance for filly-mare sprinters. Ismene is the 5-2 favorite. She faces recent runner-up Minds Eyes and O’Neill dropper There Is No Limit.

◗ Race 8 is a competitive sprint for California-bred maiden fillies and mares. Second-time starter Crystalline Indy should improve. Suances Pride adds blinkers and might be the one to catch as the 7-2 favorite.