Anisette winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks under Umberto Rispoli

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Anisette put on the most outstanding performance of the Del Mar season so far when she electrified a Saturday crowd at the seaside oval with a last-to-first run that earned her the honors in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

The robust daughter of the Irish stallion Awtaad was given a daring ride by Umberto Rispoli as they ducked to the rail turning for home in the 10-horse field and fired a fierce shot through the lane, getting the nine furlongs on grass in a final time of 1:48.15 as she pulled 2 3/4- lengths clear at the finish. It was the third straight stateside tally this year by the British-bred miss, who is trained by French expat Leonard Powell.

Anisette took home the $180,000 share of the $302,500 purse, pushing her earnings to $346,871. She’s been perfect in a trio of stateside starts and was a winner of one of three outings as a 2-year-old in England.

Finishing second in the 67th edition of the Oaks was Michael Ryan’s Be Your Best, who was a neck better than Martin Schwartz’s Impact Warrior.

The winner was a stout favorite at 4-5 and paid $3.60 to her backers.

The Del Mar 10-race program was further enhanced by two special events that took place earlier on the card. First, the track’s renowned race caller Trevor Denman received the coveted Laffit Pincay Award in the winner’s circle after Race 5. He became the 19th recipient of the honor, given to those who long serve the sport of Thoroughbred racing with “integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction.”

Then, following Race 7, the track hosted the awarding of racing Hall of Fame honors to 82-year-old Fernando Toro. Pincay once again did the honors for one of the sport’s top competitors, known by his nickname “The Bull.” Toro won 3,555 races in North America after coming up from his native Chile where he was a champion rider.

Hall of Famer Fernando Toro

Toro donned his Hall of Fame jacket and received his Hall of Fame plaque in the winner’s circle in a warm ceremony attended by family members and dozens of friends and admirers, including many other Hall of Fame members who call Del Mar home in the summer.

Del Mar will not race Sunday as usual due to an impending storm that is supposed to drench Southern California on Sunday. It will return to action on Thursday with a first post of 2 p.m.

UMBERTO RISPOLI (Anisette, winner) – “I knew I was on the best filly and that helped me ride her the way I did. I thought about going outside and I knew the pace wasn’t in my favor. But then things opened a bit inside and I went. They tell me I ride like Fernando Toro did (Toro was at Del Mar today to accept his Hall of Fame honors and gave away the trophy to Anisette’s connections). I know what that means. It’s a great honor.”

LEONARD POWELL (Anisette, winner) – “Her turn of foot made the difference at the top of the lane. I didn’t think we’d be so far back, especially with a half mile in :47, but she was good enough to overcome that and close the ground. He (Rispoli) kept his cool; we got a dream run on the rail and he had the horse to do it. She’s the goods.”

RACTIONS:  :23.84  :47.21  1:11.92  1:36.60  1:48.15

The stakes win was the fifth of the meeting for rider Rispoli.  It was the third of the session for trainer Powell.

Rider Rispoli was registering his first victory in the Grade I Oaks, but his 23rd overall triumph in Del Mar stakes.

Trainer Powell was scoring his second win in the Grade I Oaks (he won the race in 2018 with Fatale Bere). He now has 11 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winning owner is Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, which is headed by Aron Wellman of Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

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