D'Amato Holds Strong Hand in Durante


Helens Well (outside) & Liam's DoveBenoit

Trainer Phil D'Amato saddles a pair of live contenders in Saturday's GIII Jimmy Durante S. at Del Mar. Making one start in Europe before joining D'Amato's barn, Helens Well (Ire) (Kodi Bear {Ire}) broke her maiden at Del Mar Aug. 15 and finished second in both the Sept. 5 Juvenile Fillies Turf S. in SoCal and the Oct. 3 Surfer Girl S. at Santa Anita. She enters off an eighth-place finish in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf S. Nov. 5. D'Amato also saddles Virulente (Fr) (Al Wukair {Ire}), who was privately purchased and sent to America after a first-out score in France Aug. 22.

Peter Miller sends out three in this event, led by Tezzaray (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}). Third in a pair of British starts in August, the chestnut was privately acquired by these connections and brought to America. She rallied to victory in her California debut at this oval Nov. 4. Her stablemate Travel Smart (Gormley) checked in fifth to next-out Grade I winner Grace Adler (Curlin) in her career bow going five furlongs on dirt here July 31, but broke through next out when dangled for a $50,000 tag in a one-mile turf event Oct. 30. Rounding out the Miller trio is Liam's Dove (Liam's Map), who defeated Helens Well in the aforementioned Juvenile Fillies Turf S. That was her first win and third start and she followed that with a 10th in the Surfer Girl.

Graham Motion invades Del Mar for the second time this month with Sparkle Blue (Hard Spun). The dark bay graduated at first asking in an off-the-turf event at Colonial Aug. 17 and was fourth next out in Laurel's grassy Selima S. Oct. 2. She won a course-and-distance optional claimer last out Nov. 3.

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