10/09/2017 12:03PM

War Flag to bring McGaughey to Del Mar

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Barbara D. Livingston
War Flag (right) holds off Dacita to win the Grade 1 Flower Bowl on Sunday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has run three horses at Del Mar but has never himself been to the Southern California track.

That will change next month when he brings War Flag to Del Mar for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. War Flag punched her ticket to that race with a head victory over Dacita in Sunday’s Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont.

The Flower Bowl was War Flag’s second victory in four starts since being sent to McGaughey by owner-breeder Joe Allen. In the Filly and Mare Turf, War Flag will cutting back from 1 1/4 miles to 1 1/8 miles.

“Sometimes coming off a long race and into a short race, it makes them kick a little harder at the end,” McGaughey said Monday.

Dacita finished a length ahead of Grand Jete, who set the pace in the Flower Bowl. Trainer Chad Brown said he would be more inclined to run Grand Jete in the Breeders’ Cup while skipping it with Dacita, for whom he believes the 1 1/8 miles is too short. Dacita shares common ownership with Lady Eli, the expected favorite in the Filly and Mare Turf.