Saturday at Del Mar, jockey Flavien Prat is booked to ride Bellafina (9-5) in the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Debutante and Vasilika (7-2) in the Grade 2, $200,000 John C. Mabee.

Coincidentally, Prat’s mounts are both second choices on the morning line to horses that will be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, who holds a two-win lead over defending champion Prat in the jockey standings.

Van Dyke has Brill (8-5) in the Debutante and Cambodia (5-2) in the Mabee.

It’s an across-the-board case of No. 2 having to try harder. Which is just fine with Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson.

“Bellafina’s doing well,” Lawson said.  “We’ve ridden her twice and gotten a second and a win. The win in the Sorrento was especially good. She’s drawn really well on the outside and it’s a matter of who’s the better 2-year-old filly of the moment. But she’ll run well.”

Simon Callaghan, who trains Bellafina for owner Kaleem Shah, concurs.

“We’ve been really happy with the way she’s trained after the Sorrento. Everything’s gone according to plan,” Callaghan said. “We’ve seen everything we wanted to see between that race and now.

“We like our post position (outside in a field of five) which gives us options. I think it’s going to be an exceptionally good race. And I think whoever wins is going to be the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for (Mother Mother) and (Brill) but we think we’ve got the right filly that could do it.”

The field from the rail: Boujie Girl (Geovanni Franco, 8-1), Brill (Drayden Van Dyke, 8-5), Watch Me Burn (Alonso Quinonez, 15-1), Mother Mother (Joe Talamo, 2-1) and Bellafina (Flavien Prat 9-5).

The Debutante will go as the fourth on an 11-race card that starts at 2 p.m.

In the Mabee, Prat will be seeking a sixth straight victory on Vasilika, whom Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has turned into a win machine since claiming the 4-year-old daughter of Skipshot for $40,000 at the end of last year.

“We know Cambodia is the filly to beat, but this is the next step up for Vasilika,” Lawson said. “She’s done everything she possibly could to get to the next level.”

The field in post position order: Meal Ticket (Joe Talamo, 20-1), Sophie P (Kent Desormeaux, 10-1), Midnight Crossing (Brice Blanc, 20-1), Storm the Hill (Rafael Bejarano, 15-1), Fahan Mura (Edwin Maldonado, 4-1), Cordiality (Tyler Baze, 12-1), Cambodia (Drayden Van Dyke, 5-2), Achira (Gary Stevens, 15-1), Vasilika (Flavien Prat, 7-2), The Tulip (Mario Gutierrez, 15-1), Madame Stripes (Geovanni Franco, 8-1) and Cheekaboo (Tyler Conner, 20-1). Also eligible: Vagabond Princess (Martin Garcia, 20-1).

The Mabee will be the 10th on an 11-race program.


Article Source