09/03/2011 8:34PM

Del Mar: Weemissfrankie takes overland route to Debutante score


DEL MAR, Calif. - A five-wide trip on Weemissfrankie through the turn of Saturday’s $250,000 Del Mar Debutante did not concern jockey Rafael Bejarano. For the last half of the race, Bejarano was convinced he was aboard the winner - and he was right.

“I had the best horse in the race,” Bejarano said. “I tried to keep her in the clear. I felt I had a lot of horse at the three-eighths pole. She did the rest.”

Weemissfrankie ($6.80) took the lead entering the stretch and won by 1 1/4 lengths over the Irish import Self Preservation, a 24-1 shot. Emerald Gold finished third in the field of 10.

The victory vaulted Weemissfrankie to the top of California’s 2-year-old filly division, and makes her a leading contender for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs in November.

The victory was the first in a Grade 1 for the ownership group – Sharon Alesia, Joe Ciaglia, Mike Mellen, Nick Cosato and Rob Dryrdek - and for trainer Peter Eurton.

Weemissfrankie is unbeaten in two starts, having won a maiden race over five furlongs with a devastating turn of foot from the back of the field on July 20.

In the Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs, Weemissfrankie was closer to the pace, racing in seventh on the backstretch and a little more than four lengths off the lead. Bejarano guided Weemissfrankie wide on the turn and the filly closed ground with little effort.

A New York-bred by Sunriver, Weemissfrankie ran seven furlongs on Del Mar’s Polytrack surface in 1:23.20. The winner of $187,800, Weemissfrankie was purchased for $175,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ sale of 2-year-olds in training in April.

Self Preservation was acquired privately by Paul Reddam after a win in a maiden race at Tipperary, Ireland, on June 23. Trained by Ben Cecil, Self Preservation closed from last to finish three-quarters of a length in front of Emerald Gold.

“I thought she needed a run,” Cecil said of Self Preservation. “I think she’ll be better on dirt than this. I think this was pretty encouraging.”

The disappointment in the field was Killer Graces, the winner of two stakes at Hollywood Park earlier this year. She raced in traffic on the turn and finished fifth, three lengths behind Weemissfrankie.

*Shediak ($49.80) closed from seventh along the rail to win his first stakes in Saturday’s $91,041 Windy Sands Handicap.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Shediak was the longest shot in a field of eight in the one-mile Polytrack race. Valenzuela had Shediak at the back of the field for the first half-mile, and they benefitted from a speed duel between Warning Song and 7-5 favorite Kevlar Kid.

Shediak has won 3 of 24 starts and $244,261. A 6-year-old gelding owned by Triple B Farms, Shediak won twice at the Del Mar meeting, including an optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 20.