LAS VIRGENES STAKES | PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 1 | 1 MILE
After getting a quick jump out of the gate, Fashion Plate went wire-to-wire and held off tenacious even-money favorite Streaming for a game victory in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Sent off at odds of 9-2, the 3-year-old daughter of Old Fashioned -- Miss Puzzle (by Citidancer) broke on top along with Taste Like Candy but opened up a daylight lead after a half-mile was completed in :46.26 seconds.
With Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens urging his mount along, Fashion Plate continued on through three-quarters in 1:10.91, even as Streaming, who had been forwardly placed in third, closed resolutely on the outside under Martin Garcia. But in the end, Fashion Plate and Stevens held sway by a half-length, and Fashion Plate became the first Grade 1 winner for her sire, who stands at Taylor Made Stallions.
Fashion Plate completed the mile in 1:37.22 and paid $11.40, $4.40, and $3.80. Streaming was worth $2.80 and $2.40, with Arethusa third at $4.60. The order was completed by Taste Like Candy, Artemis, Saintly Joan, and Sushi Empire. Earthflight scratched.
The Las Virgenes win improved Fashion Plate's record to 4-2-0-1 and her share of the purse increased her career earnings to $219,250.
Both Stevens and Callaghan were complimentary of the filly.
"She's a very cooperative filly. You never know first time going long," Stevens said. "She broke very relaxed and I didn't want to get her rolling [too early]. She was content to stay inside of Rafael [Bejarano, on Taste Like Candy] around the first turn and at the three-quarter pole I knew it [the pace] wasn't good for either one of us, even though she was relaxed, so I let her out a notch and she did what I wanted her to do. This was pretty much the hardest I've had to work this meet."
"When they came to her, she really dug in and tried real hard," said winning trainer Callaghan. "She's a special filly. It means a lot to win this race. Gary put up a great ride. She went nice fractions, she went pretty quick and I think that was a testament to her courage and ability that she was able to do that and sustain the run."
Callaghan said the April 5 Santa Anita Oaks is the likely next outing for Fashion Plate, followed by the Kentucky Oaks to be run on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
"This is unbelievable," co-owner Arnold Zetcher said. "When she took the lead that was exciting, and when they came to her, she dug right in."
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said that as the field entered the stretch, he thought Hollywood Starlet victress Streaming would win.
"Turning for home, I thought we had it. That's why he's [Gary Stevens, on front-running Fashion Plate] the best though, he's tough. [Streaming] ran better when she was 10-to-1 [odds]," Baffert joked.
The victory was the second in a row for Fashion Plate, who broke her maiden by 6 ½ lengths in her third start at Santa Anita on Dec. 29.
There was a bit of irony in the Las Virgenes result since Fashion Plate is trained by Callaghan for Zetcher and Michael Tabor, and Streaming is conditioned by Baffert for John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Edward McGhee. In recent years, Zetcher and Baffert have been a successful owner-trainer pair in Southern California, with their successes including horses such as Grade 1 winners Liaison and Midnight Interlude.
Streaming came into the Las Virgenes with a 2-for-2 record that included an upset victory Dec. 7 in the Hollywood Starlet at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Springland Farm and Fox Hill Farms, Fashion Plate went through the sales ring three times before being purchased by Callaghan for $340,000 at the 2013 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April 2-year-olds in training sale. Consigned to the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale by Taylor Made Sales Agency, she sold to 4th Street Racing for $75,000. Sent back through the ring by Taylor Made at the Keeneland September yearling sale the following year, the filly was acquired by agent Nick de Meric for $35,000. De Meric consigned the filly to the 2013 OBSC auction.