Dearest Trickski came into Saturday's $250,000 La Brea Stakes with a record of six wins and a second from her last seven starts. Despite that, the filly went to the post as only the third-favorite -- and promptly romped home first after leading most of the way.
The La Brea, for 3-year-old fillies, was the first stakes race for Dearest Trickski, a Florida-bred daughter of Proudest Romeo. And many of her previous efforts were in claiming races. Trainer John Sadler, in fact, claimed the filly for $32,000 in August. She didn't seem to mind the jump in class to the Santa Anita feature, though.
With Mike Smith, Dearest Trickski set a brisk pace and wasn't seriously challenged, finishing the 7 furlongs in 1:21.09 on the all-weather track. Unspoken Word was second and Glorified finished third. The favorite, Sindy with an S, ran evenly to finish fourth.
"John told me to just let this filly do her thing, to just leave her alone," Smith said. "She's very quick and she left the gate today like we were going 870 at Los Al. She relaxed and finished great."
The weekend's other major race for 3-year-old fillies, the $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes at Calder Race Course in Florida, went to a more accomplished competitor. Rutherine, winner of seven of her nine previous starts including the Grade I Del Mar Oaks two starts back, rallied late on the outside to win by a neck over Sweet Ransom and Pretoria Light, who dead-heated for the place and show.
Rutherine, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Pulpit out of the Rahy filly Ruthian, finished the 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:28.16 under Rene Douglas.
"The way the course was playing," said winning trainer Christophe Clement, "Rene put her a little closer to the pace than she usually is, which might have taken a little off her closing kick. But she got the job done." He said Rutherine, a Virginia Kraft Payson homebred, will take some time off and return at Gulfstream or Keeneland.
In other weekend racing:
Calder Race Course
Cher Ami led most of the way to a 5 3/4-lengths victory over Change Up in Saturday's $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap for fillies and mares. Running Lass was third. Cher Ami, a 3-year-old, Florida-bred daughter of Lost Soldier, completed the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.23 with Ariel Smith aboard. "She does it so effortlessly," said winning trainer Larry Bates. "I don't know exactly what's next. We'll let her tell us." He did, however, mention the possibility of traveling to Santa Anita for the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint on Jan. 26.
Fearless Eagle rallied four-wide around the turn to take the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes for 3-year-olds, then held on to win by 1/2 length over late-running Buffalo Man. Mysterious Peintre also put in a late bid from far back to secure third. Fearless Eagle, a Florida-bred colt by Invisible Ink, ran the 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:27.22 with Eddie Castro riding for trainer Edward Plesa Jr. "We basically got a perfect trip," said Castro. "There was a little bumping on the first turn but this horse came to run today."
In Saturday's $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap for fillies and mares, Bayou's Lassie rallied down the stretch to wear down pace-setting Amazing Speed and win by a neck. Cindy's Mom was third with a late effort. Bayou's Lassie, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred filly by Outflanker, got the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:46.16. Elvis Trujillo took the mount for trainer Christophe Clement. Noting the Stage Door Betty is a Grade III event, Clement said, "She's a graded-stakes winner, which will help make sure she gets into the Sunshine Million." He said he probably will slot Bayou's Lassie for the Sunshine Millions Distaff, pending instructions from the owner.
Sunday, Gift of Song shot out to a big lead in the $50,000 Lemhi Go Stakes for fillies and mares, then held on by a desperate head at the wire. Le Cordon Bleu cooked up the place and Shapira took third. Gift of Song, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Unbridled's Song, ran 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:28.26. Joe Bravo rode for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Darly Stable owns the filly.
Daytona dueled for the lead in Sunday's $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap, got to the fore on the turn and then held on to win by 3/4 lengths over Proudinsky, posting his third straight graded stakes victory. Medici Code was third and the favorite, Storm Military, ran fourth. Daytona, a 3-year-old, Irish-bred gelding by Indian Ridge, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.57 with Mike Smith riding for trainer Dan Hendricks. Daytona won the Oak Tree Derby and the Hollywood Derby in his last two starts. "The horse is real healthy right now, doing great," Hendricks said. "He just came into his own." He said he hasn't yet planned the gelding's next start.
In Sunday's $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 mile on the turf, Gorgeous Goose rallied down the lane to post a mild upset, wining by 1 1/4 lengths over Golden Doc A. The favorite, Ariege, was third. Gorgeous Goose, a Florida-bred daughter of Mongoose out of the Big Struce mare Gorgeous Me, finished in 1:35.95 with Jose Valdivia Jr. up. It was the second straight victory for Gorgeous Goose.
Spring Awakening pressed the pace in Saturday's $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, took the fore turning for home and edged clear to win by 1 length. Onebadkitty made a late run to take second and the pace-setter, 51-1 shot Lovehi, held third. Spring Awakening, a daughter of In Excess, ran the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.09 for Garrett Gomez.
Yankee Bravo rallied from last of eight to win Saturday's $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds, beating Sky Cape by 1/2 length with a late rush. Nistle's Crunch was third. Yankee Bravo, a Kentucky-bred colt by Yankee Gentleman, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.64. Alex Solis rode.
Rapper S S stalked the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity, came around pace-setting Yonegwa on the turn and got home first by 1 3/4 lengths. Yonegwa held second and Capetown Royal finished third. Rapper S S, a Kentucky-bred colt by Monarchos, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.81. Joe Martinez rode for trainer Henry Dominguez.
In Sunday's co-feature, Gleaming Elegance led all the way to a 5 1/2-lengths victory in the $50,000 Bold Ego Handicap for fillies and mares. Kranky Karol was second and Diamond Chimes rang in third. Gleaming Elegance, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred High Yield filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.28 for jockey Casey Lambert.
City Attraction won a three-way duel down the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Gravesend Handicap, scoring by 3/4 length over the favorite, Joey P, who stumbled badly at the start. Debussy was third. City Attraction, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred colt by Vicar, ran 6 furlongs on the muddy, sealed inner track in 1:11.97 with Mike Luzzi up.
Also Saturday, Nite Light rated just behind the pace in the $75,000 Gallant Fox Handicap, then drew away in the stretch to win by 10 lengths. Entrymates Successful Affair and Malibu Moonshine finished 2-3, with Nolan's Cat fourth. Nite Light, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred colt by Thunder Gulch, ran the 1 5/8 miles on the muddy inner track in 2:47.45 for Mike Luzzi.
Sunday, Naughty New Yorker was along in the stretch, splitting rivals to win the $75,000 Alex M. Robb Handicap for New York-breds by 3/4 length. Shuffling Maddnes was second and Run Red Run took third. Naughty New Yorker, a 5-year-old son of Quiet American, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a "good" inner track in 1:44.32 under Jean-Luc Samyn.
Country Diva led throughout in winning Sunday night's $75,000 New Year's Eve Stakes for fillies and mares. At the wire, the 4-year-old, Florida-bred daughter of Songandaprayer was 3/4 length to the good of La Chica Rica, with Roving Angel third. Country Diva ran the 6 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:10.37 under Rex Stokes III.
Tampa Bay Downs
Unfolding Wish, a Kinsman Farm homebred daughter of Gilded Time, rallied from mid-pack to win Saturday's $65,000 Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 1/2 length over Bear Lahaina. Awesome Chic was third. Unfolding Wish, with Carlos Montalvo in the irons, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.37. "There were some pretty decent horses in here," said Jessica Steinbrenner, representing her father. "So this was a true testament to her. We knew she could win in allowance company and you can't say we ever expect something. But we were hoping for it."
Honey Honey Honey, at nearly 40-1, enjoyed the sweet smell of success after Saturday's $65,000 Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-olds. After setting a pressured pace, the Florida-bred Awesome of Course colt just did hold on the win by a nose over a late-running Run Sully Run. Surrealdeal finished third. Honey Honey Honey ran the 6 furlongs in 1:11.85 with Jose Lopez aboard. After making the lead, "there were horses coming at me everywhere," Lopez said. "I was just trying to control him and win the race."
Swingit led a multi-horse charge from the rear in the stretch drive of Saturday's $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap for fillies and mares, prevailing by 1 length at the wire. My Three Sisters was second, just a head in front of Shytoe Lafeet. Prop Me Up and Candy Ball were another neck and nose back, respectively. Swingit, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Victory Gallop, ran the "about" 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:45.27. James Graham rode for trainer Hal Wiggins.
Junior College, with Jesus Castanon aboard, stalked the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes, then drew clear in the stretch to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Three Twenty Three was second and Storm Marcopolo completed the trifecta. Junior College, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Ide gelding, ran the 6 furlongs over the all-weather track in 1:09.83. "Junior College is a professional racehorse," said winning trainer Anthony Reinstedler. "If he runs his race, he's in the winner's circle."
Apple Special posted a mild upset in Saturday's $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship for state-breds, drawing off in the final furlong to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Malibu Kid. Regal Solo was third and the favorite, Smooth It Over, checked in fifth. Apple Special, a son of Outflanker from the Pleasant Tap mare Apple Juice, ran 1 mile on a "good" main track in 1:39.2 for Oliver Castillo.
High Resolve, the odds-on favorite, never left much doubt about Saturday's $45,000 Arizona Juvenile Fillies, jumping right to the lead and winning by 2 lengths without meaningful challenge. Nook and Granny was second and Cave Springs was third. High Resolve, a Florida-bred Put it Back filly, got the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.61 with Russell Baze aboard.
In Saturday's $50,000 Lost in the Fog Juvenile Stakes, El Mirage got to the lead turning for home and then held on to win by a neck over White Spar. Ez Dreamer was third. El Mirage, with Victor Guerra up, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.24 -- well off the track record of 1:13.55, set three years ago by Lost in the Fog. El Mirage is an Arizona-bred colt by Cee's Tizzy.