SAN CLEMENTE HANDICAP | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 2 | 1 MILE (TURF)
Eden's Moon scooted through between horses to take command of Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 San Clemente at Del Mar and led all the way home in the one-mile grass affair to score by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Rafael Bejarano. The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Malibu Moon was sent off the 4-5 favorite and returned $3.80, $3.40 and $2.80 for stopping the clock on the firm turf in 1:34 1/5.
Eden's Moon was looking for her first win in this spot since taking the Grade 1 Las Virgenes on Santa Anita's dirt track in early March, and got right down to business under Bejarano when the gates opened. The bay miss settled just off the rail, with Don'tgetmadalexis to her outside and Oblivion tracking in behind, on the backstretch through splits of :23 and :47.
Entering the turn, Don'tgetmadalexis attempted to draw even with Eden's Moon but the Kaleem Shah colorbearer hit another gear and kicked clear in the lane. Open Water put in a game run down on the rail, but could not catch the winner while easily holding Indigo River to take second by 1 1/4 lengths. Byrama got the best of Killer Graces by a head on the wire, while Don'tgetmadalexis and Oblivion completed the order of finish after Morocco Moon was withdrawn.
Eden's Moon was making her turf bow in the San Clemente and passed the grass test with flying colors. Prior to Sunday's race the three-year-old filly just missed by a nose in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks on the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park, the same venue over which she opened her racing career when second on December 18. Entered back 21 days later, she captured her initial win at Santa Anita, and stayed at that Arcadia, California, track to add the Las Virgenes to her resume in her stakes debut.
Eden's Moon was a one-paced third as the 1-2 favorite in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks next out, and wound up last of 14 in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks following a rough trip that saw her take up entering the first turn before bumping with a rival soon after. Given some time to recover from that experience, the bay lass just missed in the Hollywood Oaks last out but is now 7-3-2-1 having amassed $358,600 in lifetime earnings.
Baffert said after the race that Eden's Moon will now be pointed for the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks at nine furlongs on the grass August 18.
Bred in Florida by Bridlewood Farm, Eden's Moon was a $110,000 RNA at Fasig-Tipton Florida before selling for $390,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training. She is out of the winning Giant's Causeway mare Eden's Causeway, who is herself a daughter of the Northfields mare North of Eden.
North of Eden wasn't able to win on track from seven starts, but was quite successful in the breeding shed. Among her progeny are 1994 champion turf horse Paradise Creek, who captured such Grade 1 races as the Arlington Million, Washington D.C. International and Manhattan; fellow Manhattan winner and 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile second Forbidden Apple; Grade 1 scorer Wild Event; and Grade 2-placed stakes victor I'm Very Irish. All four of those would go on to be sires while Paradise Creek's full sister, Paradise River, would foal multiple highweight David Junior.
North of Eden is herself a half-sibling to 1987 champion turf horse and top sire Theatrical as well as Japanese Grade 1 winner Taiki Blizzard.