Neige Blanche Looks For Second Red Carpet Win At Del Mar - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Neige Blanche Looks For Second Red Carpet Win At Del Mar

Neige Blanche wins the 2021 Red Carpet (G3) and is set to bid for a second victory in the race on Thanksgiving Day

Del Mar's Turf Festival kicks off with one of the most contentious races of the two week series. The $100,000 Red Carpet (G3) is a 1 3/8-mile contest on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, and eight fillies and mares have been entered in the Thanksgiving Day feature Thursday, including the 2021 winner of the race, Neige Blanche.

Trainer Phil D'Amato has his usual compliment of runners with three entered to run. Musical Rhapsody and With Love are both Irish-breds who joined the D'Amato barn earlier this year. Both are untested in stakes company but their conditioner is confident they'll put in a good showing.

“Musical Rhapsody is a filly we bought with this race in mind,” D'Amato said. “She's a marathon grass filly we just haven't been able to get many marathons in her but she's training very well. We got Mike Smith up and we're hoping she shows that marathon quality that she had in Europe when we bought her.”

Musical Rhapsody ran two entry-level allowance races at Del Mar this past summer and ran sixth in both of them. One race was the distance of the Red Carpet but the other was 1 1/16 miles.

With Love has run in the U.S. five times with runner-up finishes in entry-level allowance races her last two times out.

“She's a filly we always thought wanted to go longer,” D'Amato continued. “She exceled when we ran her at Del Mar. She came closing late to a nice filly. She ran second that day and the filly that beat her came back and ran second in the Kathryn Crosby (Yerwanthere) last week. We'll try the added ground and hope that helps her to improve.”

Oakhurst is D'Amato's third filly in the race. The 4-year old daughter of Mr. Speaker won a second-level allowance race at Del Mar in July, but subsequently got beat in her next two outings. She's never run this far in her 13-race career but D'Amato feels she'll relish the extra ground.

Trainer Leonard Powell is sending out Neige Blanche, who will bid for a second win in the race. She's a 6-year-old now and Powell is hoping that getting her in one of her favorite surroundings will get her back in the Del Mar winner's circle.

“She's back in a Grade 3 at a distance she appreciates at a track she appreciates,” Powell said. “She's doing very well. I'm very happy with her and hopefully all the stars will align.”

Neige Blanche ran into a couple of buzz saws in her last two races. She hooked Closing Remarks in the John Mabee (G2) at Del Mar in September and then Didia and stablemate Anisette in the Rodeo Drive (G2) at Santa Anita a month later, finishing fifth in each race.

Sister Otoole returns to Del Mar to take another shot at the Red Carpet. The Florida-bred has built up quite a bit of travel miles over her 22-race career, running at tracks on the east coast, the Midwest and the West Coast from Keeneland to Saratoga to Delaware to Woodbine to Gulfstream Park. She's won the last two editions of the  CTT & TOC Stakes at Del Mar, a race run at the same distance as the Red Carpet. She finished fourth to Bellstreet Birdie in last year's race.

One other horse to consider is Linda's Gift from the Richard Mandella barn. She ran opening weekend of the Bing Crosby Season, finishing a closing fourth in the Kathryn Crosby.

“I'm running her right back because it's worked well for me in the past,” Mandella said. “Running a horse at a medium distance and then running them right back. Kind of like a warm-up.”

The Red Carpet goes as Race 6 on the eight-race Thanksgiving Day card. Approximate post time for the stakes is 1:30 p.m. (PT). First post on Thursday is 11 a.m.

Here's the field from the rail with the jockeys: Oakhurst (Hector Berrios); Linda's Gift (Tiago Pereira); Musical Rhapsody; Sister Otoole (Antonio Fresu); With Love (Ricky Gonzalez); Neige Blanche (Diego Herrera); Loved Reiko (Umberto Rispoli), and Symphony Perfect (Juan Hernandez).

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