09/04/2010 9:44PM

Tell a Kelly zooms from last to first in Debutante


DEL MAR, Calif.- She was last on the backstretch, overcame traffic on the turn,. and weaved her way between fillies in the stretch before reaching the lead. Tell a Kelly won the $250,000 Darley Debutante by 4 1/2 lengths on Saturday at Del Mar and a patient and confident ride from jockey Alonso Quinonez played a pivotal role in the outcome.

Tell a Kelly ($11.20) pulled clear from a strong field to win the Grade 1 Darley Debutante in a convincing style over pacesetter and 5-2 favorite Wickedly Perfect. Tell a Kelly ran seven furlongs in 1:23.05 but the time could have been quicker if Quinonez had not eased down the filly in the final 50 yards.

He didn’t need to urge her at that point; the job was done.

“I had to find the trip,” Quinonez said. “I tried to follow the horses that would keep on going.”

Wickedly Perfect set a strong pace of 22.11 and 44.96 seconds under jockey Rafael Bejarano, leading by a half-length over Gone Rebel, a 41-1 outsider. Wickedly Perfect led by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining, but by then Tell a Kelly was catching the eye with her wide rally, having moved through traffic again in the stretch.

“I didn’t want to stop,” Quinonez said. “Everything set up perfect.”

Bejarano said his filly had “no excuse. I had to stay on the lead. She took off in the stretch, but the winner was too much.”

Rigoletta, a 30-1 chance, finished third, followed by Izshelegal, A Z Warrior, Sugarinthemorning, Righteous Renee, Avid, She’ll Heir, and Gone Rebel.

Tell a Kelly races for Ike and Dawn Thrash and trainer John Sadler. By Tapit, Tell a Kelly was fifth in her debut here on July 25 but rebounded to score an eye-catching win in a maiden race on Aug. 15. She has earned $181,000.

* Tropic Storm won his first stakes in the $83,325 Windy Sands Handicap, his second start of the summer after a 23-month break.

Tropic Storm ($8.60) ran a mile in 1:35.64, the fastest time of the meeting for the distance on the Polytrack synthetic surface. Ridden by David Flores, Tropic Storm led by as many as 2 1/2 lengths through the first half-mile and finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Red Door Drive.

Unusual Suspect was third, a nose in front of 2-1 favorite Informed in the field of six.

Tropic Storm, a 6-year-old gelding, has won 6 of 15 starts and $379,805. He placed in four consecutive graded stakes in 2008 before being sidelined from late September 2008 until Aug. 6, when he finished second in an optional claimer over five furlongs on turf.

Tropic Storm races for West Point Thoroughbreds and trainer Craig Dollase.