ARCADIA, Calif. (June 9, 2018)–At age 55, he can still find the money. Hall of Fame great Gary Stevens did just that as he took trainer Michael McCarthy’s classy Paved off the early pace and rallied to win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes by 3 ½ lengths. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Paved got a mile and one eighth over the Santa Anita turf in 1:48.57.
Most recently third at the 7-5 favorite in the Grade III Providencia Stakes here on April 7, Paved was able to tuck in behind the leaders from her outside post position heading into the first turn and Stevens had her rolling in third leaving the quarter pole. Turning for home, she bounded clear in an instant and was much the best in what appeared to be the best effort to her young career.
“My most important job was getting cover for her…getting behind horses going into the first turn so she would relax,” said Stevens. “Immediately, she (relaxed) for me and was just listening for her cue when it was time to go. She never got that cue until the hole opened up on the fence at the top of the stretch, and it was over within a matter of strides.”
Favored in three out her last four starts, Paved was the second choice in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies and paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.80.
“The other day, in the Providencia, she was probably a little more aggressive than I would have liked,” said McCarthy. “She usually pulls for about an eighth of a mile and comes off the bridle. But that particular day, she pulled for a good three eighths of a mile. Today, Gary did a masterful job of getting her to settle in behind horses and she came with a fantastic run.”
A winner versus males two starts back in the ungraded El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 17, Paved, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Quality Road, registered her first stakes win and improved her overall mark to 6-3-0-3. With the winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $242,640.
Ridden by Geovanni Franco, Animosity showed the way to the top of the lane but was no match for the winner thereafter. Off at 10-1, she held second by 1 ¾ lengths over Ms Peintour and paid $6.80 and $4.20.
Mid-pack after the first half mile, Ms Peintour was an even third, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Miss Sienna. Off at 7-1 with Stewart Elliott, Ms Peintour paid $4.80 to show.
Fractions on the Honeymoon were 23.69, 47.58, 1:11.91, 1:36.62.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. For additional racing information, please visit www.santaanita.com.