09/02/2017 9:23PM

Moonshine Memories game in Del Mar Debutante win

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Benoit & Associates
Moonshine Memories posted a half-length win in Saturday's Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Simon Callaghan kept looking for a sign, any sign, not to run Moonshine Memories in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Saturday. Fortunately for him, the sign wasn’t stop.

After monitoring Moonshine Memories carefully to make sure she wasn’t showing any ill effects of trying to race just two weeks after a fast debut, Callaghan turned her loose again and watched her move to the top of the charts amongst the West Coast’s 2-year-old fillies with a hard-fought score in the $300,690 Debutante.

The victory put Callaghan in position to be only the fourth trainer in the last 25 years to win the Debutante and Del Mar Futurity in the same year. He will send out unbeaten Run Away in the Futurity on closing-day Monday.

“It’s very possible. Amazing that it could happen,” Callaghan said. “We’ll try to pull it off. It’s fun to talk about.”

Moonshine Memories ($13.40) prevailed by a half-length over Piedi Bianchi, who was 5 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Spectator. Dancing Belle was fourth and was followed, in order, by favored Just a Smidge, Poetic, and Gabrielleelizabeth.

Gas Station Sushi, as expected, was scratched earlier in the day.

On a warm, humid day, Moonshine Memories completed seven furlongs in the fast main track in 1:23.61.

Moonshine Memories had won first time out on Aug. 19, and while Callaghan had every confidence she had the quality to win the Debutante, he was concerned about wheeling her back in two weeks. But she worked well last Sunday, and took everything else in stride.

“We were under no pressure to run by the owners,” said Callaghan, who trains Moonshine Memories for the partnership of John Malone’s Bridlewood Farm and the Coolmore trio of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor. “She did everything you’d want in between.”

She gave off all the right signs immediately before the race, too, Callaghan said.

“She was very calm in the paddock. You can’t instill that. It has to be in them,” he said. “She’s such a calm filly. She’s got a lot of class.”

Moonshine Memories, starting from post 2, showed good speed leaving the gate under Flavien Prat and clicked off fractions of 21.97 seconds for the opening quarter – an extremely sharp quarter considering the abbreviated run-up at that distance – and a half in 44.85 seconds.

“The fractions had me a little worried, but she kept burning her potential rivals off,” Callaghan said. “She set legitimate fractions, was pressured the whole way, but was well within herself. That’s the sign of a really good filly.”

Having two wins at this track bodes well for the immediate future for Moonshine Memories, because the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, her main goal, will be run at Del Mar on Nov. 4. Callaghan said she could train up to that race, or prep in the Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita on Sept. 30.

“She obviously loves the track,” Callaghan said.

Moonshine Memories, a daughter of Malibu Moon, was purchased as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga for $650,000.