ARCADIA, Calif. (April 22, 2017)–Chilean-bred Paquita Coqueta earned a hard-fought nose victory under Gary Stevens in Saturday’s $75,000 Mizdirection Stakes, run at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. Trained by Richard Mandella, Paquita Coqueta forced the issue from the outset and in a thrilling finish, managed to out-bob Coniah and Kent Desormeaux on the money as the pair hit the wire in 1:12.80.
Fifth with Stevens coming down the hill in the Wishing Well Stakes on March 10, Paquita Coqueta, a 6-year-old mare by Scat Daddy, who was making her sixth stateside start today, was off at 9-1 in a field of 10 fillies and mares three and up and paid $20.20, $11.00 and $8.00.
“This is why Richard is in the Hall of Fame,” said Stevens, himself a member of racing’s most exclusive fraternity. “This filly can be a little fireball and she was in her last race. She went entirely too fast early on and he said, ‘Since that race, she’s really settled in the mornings, so come away from there quiet. Don’t take anything away from her but you might be able to cheat her back a little bit.’
“She relaxed well for me on the lead with Kent’s mare, and she came home strong. She was under a lot of hand pressure and was giving me everything she had. It was a fun ride.”
Owned by Paquita, LLC, Paquita Coqueta won for the first time in three tries down the hill and improved her overall mark to 29-14-5-4. With the winner’s share of $48,000, she increased her earnings to $204,414.
Coniah, who “threw-down” with the winner throughout the 6 ½ furlong venture, finished a neck in front of fellow longshot Smoove It. Off at 36-1, Coniah paid $30.20 and $16.20.
Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Smoove It, who finished three quarters of a length in front of favored Riri, was off at 16-1 and paid $9.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.19, 44.09 and 1:06.66.