This Saturday at Santa Anita, Diversy Harbor (Motokiks, by Storm Cat) returns to the track for the first time since the Del Mar Oaks (GI). Unlike what Craig Bernick tweeted right after that race, she is not returning in the Valley View Stakes (GIII): of course, the Valley View already happened and was won in authoritative fashion by Sparkling Review a week ago. Instead, she stays out west to run in the one-mile Autumn Miss Stakes (GIII) on Sunday.
There is definite upside to this placing. The race is at Santa Anita: a course Diversy Harbor clearly likes. Five of her seven career outings have been over that course, and she has hit the board in all five of those runs at Santa Anita. She does stay within her age group, which may well be the core logic of placing her here. The Del Mar Oaks was over two months ago, so it is a shorter race over a course she clearly loves as her first race off the lay.
Still, I am hoping this is just the beginning of a winter campaign: hopefully, a winter campaign that has her going longer soon. Of course, the ten-furlong American Oaks (GI) earlier this year was an anomaly in the sense that there are not a lot of longer turf races restricted to three-year-olds. Still, she looked great in the final stages of that race, and that acumen is backed up by her breeding. Sire Curlin excelled at the Classic distance on dirt, and her unraced dam Motokiks has produced several long-winded offspring, the best of whom being the Johar mare Keertana.
In short? A win for Diversy Harbor in the Autumn Miss would be excellent, though a bit unexpected given the lack of pace in front of this filly who does her best work closing. Between the lay and the field, hitting the board would be a bit more realistic goal here. Still, if this race gets her back on track after a summer over a Del Mar course she did not like? That would be nice. Hopefully, this race is just a new beginning, and she can move on to bigger (and longer!) things from here.