ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2015)–Breaking last from the rail in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, the Dale Romans-trained Birdatthewire flew late under Mike Smith to take Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes by a half length, as she covered seven furlongs in 1:22.31.
Fourth in the Grade II Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 26, Birdatthewire, in her first-ever appearance at Santa Anita, was off at 10-1 and paid $23.80, $10.00 and $5.80. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Summer Bird, Birdatthewire is now a perfect two for two at seven furlongs and has four wins from 11 overall starts.
“Before the race, I thought that we might have a tough time getting there in time, since she’s a late runner and it’s seven furlongs,” said Smith, who was aboard for the first time today. “But during the running of the race, we were already in contention at the half mile pole!
“Dale told me that she likes to run out when she’s making her run, ‘So just let her.’ So, as long as she kept catching them, I just kept letting her run to the outside. We were way past the middle of the racetrack, but she just kept running…This is the only time I’ve been on her, but I’m certain she’s getting better. I certainly hope I get to ride her at some point again.”
With the winner’s share of $180,000, Birdatthewire’s lifetime earnings now stand at $569,090, with $526,790 of that having been banked this year.
“I think it was the perfect combination,” said owner Tom Camp on behalf of Forum Racing IV. “Mike Smith is known for his liking to take horses (to the) outside, and we got out there with some room to run. When we came into the stretch, I thought we had a decent chance to catch Hot City Girl.”
Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Hot City Girl carved out fractions of 22.71, 45.35 and 1:10.18. Off at 7-2, she was a handy second by 1 ¼ lengths over favored Cavorting and paid $5.40 and $3.20.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Cavorting was a no-excuse third at 7-5 and paid $2.60 to show.
“I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “I can’t complain. I broke good. I got a good position and heading for home, she was doing great…She just got beat. She did everything right.”
Run as the seventh race on a nine-race card, the La Brea was the third of four graded stakes on Santa Anita’s Winter Meet Opening Day.