Trainer Bob Baffert lands seventh straight Starlet Stakes win for 2-year-old fillies

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Valentine Candy wins the opening-day Advent Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Photo by Renee Torbit, courtesy of Oaklawn Park
1 of 2 | Valentine Candy wins the opening-day Advent Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Photo by Renee Torbit, courtesy of Oaklawn Park

Dec. 11 (UPI) Trainer Bob Baffert saddled the winner of the Starlet Stakes for the seventh straight year to highlight a relatively light pre-holiday weekend on the horse racing scene.

There was some other action, though and we've got it all, right here:


Los Alamitos

Baffert got his seventh straight win and 10th overall in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Starlet Stakes, as Nothing Like You found herself unchallenged on the lead and zipped away to a 5 1/4-length victory.

Some stretch interference muddled the results for the other five, but there was no question Nothing Like You, a Malibu Moon filly, was best. She took four tries to find the winner's circle, but now has three straight wins, also including the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar.

"It took this filly a while to come around," Baffert said. "She wasn't real quick. We knew once we stretched her out, that would be her game. The longer the better for her."


Oaklawn Park

The Arkansas track kicked off its 2023-24 stakes season with Friday's aptly named $150,000 Advent Stakes for 2-year-olds.

While "advent" might refer to the start of the racing season, the season of the year or the beginning of the participating 2-year-olds' careers, the result was a mixed metaphor, as Valentine Candy lent a February air to the proceedings, drawing off to score by 6 3/4 lengths as the favorite.

The Justify colt posted his second win from five starts for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Tejano Twist rallied from last of eight to win Saturday's $150,000 Ring the Bell Stakes going away, finishing 5 lengths ahead of runner-up Necker Island.

Chris Landeros piloted the 4-year-old Practical Joke gelding over 6 furlongs over 6 furlongs in 1:10.02 for trainer Chris Hartman.

Last year's Grade III Iowa Oaks winner, Butterbean, overcame the outside draw to win Saturday's $150,000 Mistletoe for fillies and mares with a late run, edging Misty Veil by 1/2 length.

The 4-year-old Klimt filly ran 1 mile in 1:38.54 with Julien Leparoux riding for Kenny McPeek.


Hot Fudge stalked three-wide in Saturday's $120,000 Garland of Roses for fillies and mares, shot to a clear lead at the sixteenth pole and held off Kant Hurry Love by a neck under the wire.


The 4-year-old Liam's Map filly ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.45 with Kendrick Carmouche up. Linda Rice trains the winner, who got her third straight win.

Tampa Bay Downs

Shaq Diesel edged pacesetting, odds-on favorite Dean Delivers by a nose with a late effort in Saturday's $100,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for qualified state-breds.

In the Companion City of Ocala for fillies and mares, the favorite, Bluefield, rallied late to win by a neck over Dream Concert.

Fair Grounds

The centerpiece of Saturday's Louisiana Champions Day, the $150,000 Classic, came down to a virtual match race between defending champ and odds-on favorite Touchuponastar and Tumbarumba, with Touchuponastar easily handling that rival for a 1 1/4-length victory.

The other two were well up the track at the finish.

Touchuponastar, a 4-year-old Star Guitar gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.12.

On the rest of the card:

Free Like a Girl, no stranger to tough competition, led all the way to a 4 1/4-length score in the $100,000 Ladies Distaff. The 4-year-old El Deal filly ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.49 with Vincente Del-Cid in the irons.

Mangum charged past the dueling leaders in deep stretch in the $100,000 Sprint and was just up to win by 1/2 length over Bron and Brow.


Ova Charged led in the lane in the $100,000 Ladies Sprint and just did hold on to win by a nose over Basalt Street. The Star Guitar mare ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.67.

Good and Stout, a Coal Front colt, nosed El Dinero for the victory in the $100,000 Juvenile. Accommodate Eva dropped back to last of 11, then came with a late outside rush to win the $100,000 Lassie by 3/4 length.

Behemah Star, another by Star Guitar, tracked the pace in the $100,000 Turf, ran by the leaders and won by 1 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Who Took the Money.

Gulfstream Park

Noted, last seen finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on the Santa Anita dirt, rushed from far back to win a five-way scramble to the wire in Saturday's $100,000 Pulpit Stakes for 2-year-olds at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

The Cairo Prince colt, representing the Mike Repole-Todd Pletcher connections, finished in 1:27.30 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. He now has thrree wins and two seconds from six starts.

Ortiz also rode the winner in the $100,000 Wait a While Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, guiding Ozara home first by a neck after a pace-stalking trip. The Irish-bred daughter of Lope de Vega was clocked in 1:27.36. She now is 2-for-4.


Golden Gate Fields

Chancery Way led almost all the way to a 1 1/2-length win as the odds-on favorite in Saturday's $75,000 Bear Fan Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares. The 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Big ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.81.


Fashionably Fab, the odds-on favorite, sat second, well aft of the leader, through the early furlongs of Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) La Prevoyante Stakes for fillies and mares.

The filly then closed the gap and drew off when asked by jockey Patrick Husbands, winning by 2 1/2 length from Talk to Ya Later.

The 3-year-filly covered 1 1/16 miles of all-weather track in 1:45.60 in the win.

Turfway Park

Catiche worked to the lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $125,000 My Charmer Stakes for fillies and mares and ran on to win by 2 1/2 lengths over the late-closing favorite, Mouffy. Catiche, a 4-year-old Arrogate filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.24 under Gerardo Corrales.

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