Barbara Beatrice and jockey Tiago Pereira, outside, outleg Late ‘n Left (Stewart Elliott), inside, and Long Hot Summer (Flavien Prat), left, to win the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap, Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.
© BENOIT PHOTO
In a race reduced to six runners with three program scratches, late running Barbara Beatrice uncorked a big turn of foot to register her first-ever stakes win in taking Saturday’s $100,000 California Distaff Handicap by three quarters of a length under Tiago Pereira. Trained, bred and owned in-part by Phil D’Amato, the 5-year-old California-bred daughter of Grazen got 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.56.
With morning line favorite Miss Sunset opting to run on dirt next weekend at Keeneland, it appeared on paper that today’s Distaff would be devoid of early speed, however longshot Late ‘n Left sped to the early lead and held sway until collared in final 50 yards by Barbara Beatrice.
“I took ahold of her out of the gate and she rated very kind with me today,” said Pereira, who also registered his second win of the afternoon. “At the half mile pole, Kent Desormeaux (aboard 3-2 favorite Moonless Sky) started to move, so I just followed him. When we crossed the dirt (at the top of the lane), I asked her and she took off. She really ran great today.”
Idle since running fifth in the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap on Dec. 3, 2016, Barbara Beatrice was off at 9-2 among a half dozen fillies and mares three and up bred or sired in California and paid $11.60, $5.80 and $3.00.
“She surprised me today,” said D’Amato, who acknowledged that this was his first-ever stakes win as a breeder. “I thought she’d be coming from behind, but I didn’t think there would be enough speed to set up for her. She kept coming today and I was impressed.
“This mare’s mother (Showtime Apollo) got hurt a long time ago when I was an assistant to Mike Mitchell. I really liked her and she had a lot of talent…I got her and she has been nothing but good luck for me along the way. Nick Alexander was gracious enough to let me breed to Grazen and that combination has proven to be a good one.”
Owned by D’Amato and Queen Bee Racing, LLC, Barbara Beatrice got her fifth win from 15 overall starts and with the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $289,534.
Off at 24-1 with Stewart Elliott, Late ‘n Left fought off a stout challenge from Long Hot Summer and held the place by a half length, returning $18.00 and $7.20.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Long Hot Summer was the second choice and paid $3.00 to show while finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Moonless Sky.
Fractions on the race were 22.02, 44.41 and 1:06.78.
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