Pamona Ball earns her stripes in Sharp Cat

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- A little later than hoped, Pamona Ball has emerged as a promising 2-year-old filly.

After losing her first two starts at Del Mar, Pamona Ball won her second straight in Saturday's $107,700 Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park. Pamona Ball was making her stakes debut in the Sharp Cat.

"I was hoping she could be ready for the Breeders' Cup," trainer Eoin Harty said. "She was unlucky at Del Mar when I ran her there twice, and we're playing catch-up now."

Pamona Ball ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21 and paid $5.80 as the favorite. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Pamona Ball stayed on the rail throughout the race, stalking pacesetter Ten Churros through early fractions of 23.64 and 46.84 seconds.

Harty feared that Pamona Ball lost her best chance for a win when she appeared to race in close quarters along the rail at the three-eighths pole, but she had ample room in the stretch to rally on the inside.

"I was surprised that she re-rallied from there," Harty said. "I don't know how tight it was."

Pamona Ball won by a length over Toro Bonito, who closed from last in the field of five 2-year-old fillies. Ten Churros, who was second in the California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last month, faded from the lead in the final furlong, but held third, followed by Magic Roberto and Oro Blanco.

Pamona Ball may return for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 13, pending a conversation with Darley Stud owner Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, Harty said.

Purchased for $300,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2007, Pamona Ball, who is by Pleasantly Perfect, has won 2 of 4 starts and $98,880.