D’Amato praises ‘excellent’ team after successful Del Mar meet

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In typical humble fashion, Phil D'Amato has deflected praise to his stable staff after winning the trainers' title alongside for the summer meet.

Both star California conditioners finished up in San Diego with 19 wins apiece.

For D'Amato, it was his third summer title at the seaside venue and fourth overall.

He shared the spoils with Richard Baltas in 2017 and won the fall-meet title last year.

For Baffert, it was his first title at Del Mar since 2003, when he capped a streak of seven consecutive titles.

Heading into the final weekend of the Del Mar summer, stable assistant Ali Alshowaikh said D'Amato's patience with his horses set him apart from other trainers.

The respected conditioner returned the praise.

“You're only as good as your help. I've got excellent exercise riders and assistants,” he told HorseBetting.com.au.

“They're the reasons why we're such a good team.”

D'Amato also deflected praise after Comanche Country's 1 1/4-length win under turf specialist in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf on Saturday (US time).

The two-year-old has proven to be a valuable acquisition for the D'Amato stable.

“(Founder of Little Red Feather Racing) Billy Koch and (bloodstock agent) Niall Dalton – they presented this horse to me,” he said.

“I watched her first race (in Naas, Ireland, on April 25). She just got beaten by a nose and I thought that she looked like a filly with some ability.

“Luckily, they were able to purchase her.”

D'Amato is now thinking about sending the talented two-year-old to the Breeders' Cup weekend at , Kentucky, on November 4-5.

“We'll see. Possibly the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf,” he said.

“But she'll have to give me maybe another good run at .

“She was impressive.”

Rispoli judged Comanche Country's .

“I thought Umberto had her in the right spot. Pace-wise they were going a little quick up front,” D'Amato said.

“He had her mid-pack and I could tell she was looming at the quarter-pole. He pushed the and she responded, and got the job done.”

Little Red Feather Racing and D'Amato also combined to oversee a thrilling victory in race 11 for maidens, fillies and mares three years and up on Saturday.

Three-year-old Kitty Kitana edged out a fast-finishing Maeve Of Connaught for Patrick Gallagher at the line.

D'Amato's four-year-old Leisurewear finished third, picking up two thirds and a second from the Del Mar meet.

“Both the fillies ran great. Tough meet for the other one (Leisurewear) – she always knocks on the door,” he said.

“But Kitty Kitana was just best.”

Star was aboard Kitty Kitana, picking up a of five winners across the weekend.

“Another great Flavien Prat ride. He got the job done,” D'Amato said.

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