ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 4, 2014)–Top Kisser, the lone California-bred in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita, broke from the rail in a field of six and sailed home under Elvis Trujillo to win by 3 ¾ lengths as previously unbeaten Stoppshoppingdebbie checked in a disappointing fifth as the 2-1 favorite. The final time for 6 ½ furlongs was 1:14.84.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the 5-year-old mare by Old Topper sat third behind rapid fractions of 21.48, 44.22 and 1:08.47 before taking command a furlong out.
“It was a good race,” said Trujillo. “She broke sharp, we had a good position and I knew they were going too fast on the front end–21, 44 for the half. I knew they had to stop. I asked her at the quarter pole and she kicked on.”
The second choice at 2-1, Top Kisser paid $6.20, $3.40 and $2.80. Owned and bred by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, she notched her third stakes win and seventh win overall from 14 starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she hiked her bankroll to $407,100.
“The only thing we told Elvis was ‘You’re not going to make the lead in here and you’re probably going to have to get outside where she likes it,'” said Hollendorfer. “If I can get in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint ($1 million at seven furlongs Nov. 1), I’d like to do that. I don’t know if we’ll get in, but we’ll see.”
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, California-sired Tribal Gal sat second after breaking from post five and finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of My Happy Face and Joe Talamo. Off at 7-1, she paid $6.40 and $3.40.
“She broke sharply, but I knew the number two (Uzziel, with Tyler Baze) was gonna go, so I just sat in behind her and my filly was very comfortable,” said Bejarano. “She ran big, but the winner was much the best.”
My Happy Face, ridden by Joe Talamo, was off at 4-1 and paid $3.40 to show.
An eight-time stakes winner and undefeated in nine starts at Emerald Downs near Seattle, Stopshoppingdebbie was soundly beaten by 9 ½ lengths. Although her connections had hoped to use the L.A. Woman as a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, those plans would appear to be tenuous.
“It felt like I had horse around the turn, but she didn’t go on with it,” said her regular rider Rocco Bowen. “I don’t want to use it as an excuse, but it felt like she was getting ahold of the track like 50-50. I’m thankful to be on her, she’s better than this. Tom (Wenzel, trainer) said they’re going to go over her real good later this afternoon and decide where to go next.”