ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30 2017)–Just when it looked like favored New Money Honey would be tough to deny turning for home, Mike Smith wheeled three-wide to engage with Daddys Lil Darling, who responded with a discernable turn of foot to outsprint Madam Dancealot in deep stretch and win Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 American Oaks at Santa Anita by a half length. Trained by Kenny McPeek and based at Keeneland, Daddys Lil Darling got a mile and a quarter on turf in 2:00.11.
With longshot Coachwhip showing the way into the far turn, it appeared 9-5 favorite New Money Honey, a measured second with Javier Castellano up, would be extremely tough to overhaul, but “New Money” was no match for the winner and was spent a sixteenth of a mile out.
The 2-1 second choice in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, Daddys Lil Darling paid $6.00, $3.60 and $3.00.
Owned by her breeder, Normandy Farm, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Scat Daddy picked up her first graded stakes win and improved her overall mark to 15-4-5-1. With the winner’s share of $180,000, she increased her earnings to $1,138,405.
Last early under Corey Nakatani, Madam Dancealot motored four-wide at the top of the lane, had dead aim on the winner, but couldn’t get by, finishing second, 1 ½ lengths in front of longshot Kathy’s Song. Off at 9-2, Madam Dancealot paid $4.20 and $3.60.
Ridden by Brice Blanc, Kathy’s Song outran New Money Honey late to finish third by a half length. Off at 18-1, Kathy’s Song paid $6.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.38, 48.68, 1:12.83 and 1:36.83.
ZOE METZ PHOTOGRAPHY