07/17/2016 7:56PM

Trainer strategy pays off, Barleysugar wins Sandy Blue

Benoit & Associates
Barleysugar wins her American debut in Sunday’s Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Barleysugar won her American debut in Sunday’s $85,425 Sandy Blue Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Del Mar, a race trainer Edward Freeman considered skipping in lieu of a start in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap on July 23.

Freeman decided to leave Barleysugar in Sunday’s race after a study of the potential rivals in the San Clemente.

“Trainers always worry,” Freeman said. “I looked at the nominations for the San Clemente and it was a deeper race. I thought, what happens if we draw the 12 or 13? We’re in here, let’s run.”

Freeman made the right call. Barleysugar closed from sixth in a field of 10 to take command of the Sandy Blue Handicap in early stretch. Jockey Gary Stevens made a bold move on the inside on the backstretch to put Barleysugar within striking range of pacesetter Nine Point Nine on the final turn.
The move met the satisfaction of Freeman, who had a one-word response when asked what he thought of the tactics.

“Sweet,” Freeman said.

Barleysugar led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go and won by 2 3/4 lengths over 15-1 Mrs. Norris and 3-2 Cheekaboo, who finished in a dead-heat for second.

Barleysugar ($22.20) ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.70.

Riri finished fourth, followed by Friulian, Well Caught, Nine Point Nine, How Unusual, Dynamic Mizzes K, and Olotta Shaken.

Barleysugar races for Jed and Roberta Cohen’s Red Barons Barn and Rancho Temescal. Barleysugar has won 2 of 7 starts and has earned $67,465. She won a maiden race on the all-weather surface at Kempton Park last September, and was a game second in two starts in May and early June in England.

Barleysugar was beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Persuasive in a minor handicap on the all-weather surface at Chelmsford City on June 1 in her final start in England. Persuasive later won the Sandringham Handicap against 20 rivals at Royal Ascot last month.

Barleysugar, who is by Kyllachy, is likely to start in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks, a Grade 1 at 1 1/8 miles on turf Aug. 30, Freeman said. From Freeman’s perspective, Barleysugar is still adapting to being sent to the United States.

“I there is a little bit of improvement in her,” he said. “Every week, she’s been a little better. Three and a half weeks ago, she was in Newmarket.”