Consistent filly Unusual Way, a stakes winner in her only try on turf, is part of a well-matched field of 3-year-old fillies set to battle July 21 in the $150,000 San Clemente Stakes on the Del Mar lawn.
A California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat, Unusual Way comes off a front-running 2 ½-length victory in the grassy Campanile Stakes for state-breds at the San Clemente's one mile distance June 1 at Golden Gate Fields. Trainer Jeff Bonde has tabbed Russell Baze, who was aboard Unusual Way last time, for one of the Hall of Fame jockey's rare appearances in Southern California.
Owned by Edward Brown Jr. and Phil Lebherz, Unusual Way, has enjoyed success in open company as well while racing on dirt and synthetic. She has compiled a 4-3-1 mark in 10 lifetime starts with earnings of $372,110.
Based at Betfair Hollywood Park, Unusual Way has been working superbly for her return, most recently posting a handy five-furlong move in :59 ⅗ July 11 over the Cushion Track, second quickest of 49 at the distance.
She drew the rail and will carry 118 pounds in the San Clemente, which is race 8 on the Sunday program with a 5:40 p.m. PDT scheduled post. A major prep for the Del Mar Oaks Aug. 17, the race attracted an overflow field of 11. Broken Sword, from the Jerry Hollendorfer barn, lands on the also-eligible list.
Hronis Racing's stakes-winning Iotapa, most recently second in the Hollywood Oaks June 22 for trainer John Sadler, is the 120-pound highweight for her first start on grass.
The game daughter of Afleet Alex won the Railbird Stakes at Hollywood prior to that and was second in the Santa Anita Oaks in April. She has three wins and two seconds in five lifetime starts. Joe Talamo retains the mount, breaking from post 2.
Trainer Paddy Gallagher sends out British-bred Charlie Em, winner of the Senorita Stakes on the Hollywood sod May 11 prior to a fifth-place effort in the Honeymoon Handicap June 8.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners owns the bay daughter of Kheleyf, a three-time winner from eight starts in England. The partnership also starts the British-bred Judy In Disguise, winner of the Sweet Life Stakes on the Santa Anita Park hillside course in February and most recently third in the Le Cle Stakes at Hollywood July 7. Judy In Disguise adds blinkers, which she wore when running second in the Manhattan Beach Stakes prior to the Le Cle.
Trainer James Cassidy has a triple threat in French-bred Disko Dasko, Foxy Boss, and Irish-bred Lilbourne Eliza.