DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) - Executiveprivilege rallied in the stretch to beat pacesetter Beholder in the final stride and win the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante by a nose Saturday, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his 101st career stakes win at the seaside track.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Executiveprivilege ran seven furlongs on the synthetic surface in 1:23.43 and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10 as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 race for 2-year-old fillies.
Beholder took the lead out of the gate and turned into the stretch with a clear advantage, but was unable to hold off the winner in a photo finish. Beholder returned $5.60 and $3.60, while Mechaya was another 4 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $2.60 to show.
``I wasn't sure (about the photo finish),'' Baffert said. ``She was so far (outside) she just lost focus on that other horse. I wasn't sure, but I really thought she didn't get up in time. I'm just grateful that we got the photo. My wife, Jill, is really pretty good at that (judging finishes) and she said, `We got beat.' I'm glad she was wrong for the first time in 1,000.''
The victory, worth $180,000, increased Executiveprivilege's career earnings to $390,000, with four wins in as many starts for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
It was Baffert's seventh win in the Debutante, his leading 101st stakes win at the track and his 19th victory at the meet, moving him into the top spot in the trainers' standings with three days remaining.
Bejarano won his 12th stakes of the meet, tying him with four other riders for the track record.
In the $106,460 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes, John Scott held off the late challenge of 9-5 favorite Kettle Corn to win by a neck. John Scott and jockey Victor Espinoza ran a mile in 1:36.52. The winner paid $6, $3 and $2.20. Espinoza rode three other winners on the 11-race card.
Kettle Corn paid $2.60 and $2.20, while Holladay Road returned $3 to show.
John Scott earned $68,160 for his fifth win in eight starts for trainer Carla Gaines.