HONEYMOON H. | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD | FILLIES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/8-MILES (TURF)
Wertheimer & Frere's homebred Sarach sprinted to the front when the gates opened and registered her first stakes victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Honeymoon at Hollywood Park, leading wire to wire for a one-length decision. The Richard Mandella-trained three-year-old filly posted an 8-1 upset with jockey Martin Garcia.
Scarlet Strike, who trailed through the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile turf affair, rallied belatedly to finish a non-threatening second as the 4-5 favorite.
After breaking from post 6 in the eight-horse field, Sarach angled in toward the rail and showed the way on a clear lead into the first turn. The dark bay lass recorded splits in :24 and :48 1/5 under little pressure, but Macha advanced from second to challenge on the far turn.
Her lead had dwindled after six furlongs in 1:12 3/5, with several foes bunching up behind her as she came up under serious pressure from Macha, but Sarach responded the urgings of Garcia and kept finding more after turning for home, surging clear once again in midstretch. She was in complete control to the wire, stopping the teletimer in 1:48 3/5 on the firm course.
"The main thing was to break sharp," Garcia said. "Every time she runs, she likes to be right there. Nobody went to the lead today and it was really comfortable for her to take it. She showed what she can do.
"If they would have gone faster, she would have been right there, but like I said there was no pace and I just took advantage from there."
The winner returned payouts of $18, $5.80 and $3.60.
Scarlet Strike waited too long to make a serious impact but easily finished second-best, a half-length better than a game Macha in third at 11-1. Becky Lou, Charlie Em, Somethingabouther, Wittgenstein and Kyriaki completed the order of finish. Blingismything, Scooter Bird and Sweet Red Cat were all scratched.
After breaking her maiden in her fourth career start in early January, Sarach stepped up to knock off entry-level allowance rivals in February at Santa Anita. She wasn't a serious factor in her next two appearances versus stakes rivals, finishing fifth in both the March 9 China Doll and April 6 Providencia, but turned things around on Saturday.
Sarach's ledger now reads 8-3-0-0, $168,742.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Arch, Sarach is out of the stakes-placed Eximius. The Atticus mare is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Gorgeous, and Sarach's third maternal dam is 1990 Broodmare of the Year Kamar.
This is the female family of European Horse of the Year and U.S. champion Fantastic Light; champion Golden Attraction; English highweight Music Show; French highweight Desert Lord; Canadian champion Key to the Moon; Grade 1 winners Cape Town, Flashing, Seaside Attraction and Swift Temper; and last year's Travers dead-heat winner Alpha.