12/05/2016 2:16PM

O'Neill high on neophytes in Starlet


DEL MAR, Calif. – The 2-year-old fillies Go On Mary, Mopotism, and Sandy’s Surprise have run only in maiden races, but trainer Doug O’Neill has seen enough to point for Saturday’s $300,000 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos.

The Grade 1 Starlet Stakes is run at 1 1/16 miles.

“All three fillies act like the distance won’t be a problem,” O’Neill said on Sunday. “It’s how they handle themselves. It’s a Grade 1 in your backyard, and you’ve got to take a chance.”

Go On Mary and Sandy’s Surprise are winners, while Mopotism is winless after two starts. The expected field for the Starlet Stakes is led by American Gal, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, and Union Strike, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3 and was sixth in the BC Juvenile Fillies.

Other candidates are Abel Tasman and Fact of Life, who were first and second in an allowance race at seven furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 18.

Sandy’s Surprise won a maiden race at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, while Go On Mary won a maiden race at six furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 12. Both fillies closed from just off the pace to win by more than two lengths.

Mopotism was second to Go On Mary in her second start. By Uncle Mo, Mopotism was purchased for $300,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of 2-year-olds in training in March. Mopotism races for Paul and Zillah Reddam.

“We’ve been high on her,” O’Neill said. “Paul wrote a pretty substantial check when we purchased her. We’ve love to have a couple of wins under her belt, but things didn’t go as quickly as we hoped.”

The Starlet is one of two Grade 1 races on Saturday’s program, along with the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity, also at 1 1/16 miles.

Mastery, the undefeated winner of the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at seven furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 19, will be a strong favorite in his first start around two turns in the Futurity. Trained by Bob Baffert, Mastery is not expected to face a large field.

Other probable starters are Hot Sean and Dangerfield, who were second and third in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot in Louisiana on Nov. 19, and Bobby Abu Dhabi, a maiden-race winner at Del Mar on Nov. 19.

Dangerfield, trained by O’Neill, won the Oak Tree Juvenile Stakes at a mile and 70 yards at Pleasanton on Oct. 1.

“He came out of the race in Louisiana in great shape,” O’Neill said. “He’s a nice 2-year-old who’s getting better mentally and physically.”

Dangerfield is one of two runners in the field with victories around two turns. Hot Sean won a maiden race at a mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 27.