DEL MAR, Calif. — Union Strike overcame a wide trip to take the lead in mid-stretch and drew clear to win the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies by 2 1/4 lengths Saturday at Del Mar.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, Union Strike ran seven furlongs in 1:23.22 and paid $17.40, $7.80 and 4.40 at 7-1 odds. She became the third filly to earn her first career victory in the Grade 1 race.
American Cleopatra, a full sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, returned $3.60 and $2.60 as the 17-10 favorite. Champagne Room was another nose back in third and paid $2.40 to show.
Union Strike, a daughter of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, had lost to American Cleopatra in her debut on July 31.
“We didn’t have any worries going up against those other horses,” rookie trainer Shelbe Ruis said. “They had all the pressure. We were the long shot, but we knew what we had so we were really excited.”
The victory was worth $180,000.
In the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes, Bowies Hero won by a length, giving jockey Rafael Bejarano his third victory on the card. The winner ran a mile in 1:36.40.
Trained by Phil D’Amato, Bowies Hero paid $11.40, $5.40 and $3.80.
Big Score returned $3.40 and $2.60 as the 2-1 favorite, while Billy Big was another 6 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $3.40 to show.
The victory, worth $60,000, increased Bowies Hero’s career earnings to $72,240, with two wins in as many starts.