ARCADIA, Calif. (June 7, 2015)–Trainer Neil Drysdale’s Gaga A made an auspicious U.S. debut at a mile and a half on grass Sunday at Santa Anita, as the 6-year-old Uruguayan-bred mare sat close to lethargic fractions and outsprinted favored Gas Total to take the $75,000 Possibly Perfect Handicap under Tyler Baze by 1 ¼ lengths. With favored Gas Total sauntering on the lead through splits of 25.91, 50.57, 1:16.50, 1:41.91 and 2:06.35, Gaga A angled off the rail a furlong out and stopped the clock at 2:29.78.
Idle since winning a Group III stakes at 1 5/16 miles in France on Nov. 11, Gaga A was off at 6-1 in a field of six fillies and mares three and up and paid $15.80, $4.80 and $4.20.
“They were walking!” said Drysdale. “A mile in 1:41 and four?…She quickened well which was nice to see. The plan is to take her to Arlington next for the Modesty (Grade III, 1 3/16 miles on July 11).
In a racing rarity, owner/breeder Haras Phillipson owns the one-two finishers in the Possibly Perfect and has them with two different trainers (Richard Mandella has Brazilian-bred Gas Total).
“Mr. Phillipson has a stud farm in Brazil and a stud farm in Uruguay, but these horses have all come to us from France,” said Drysdale.
“Neil got her ready and she was just a dream to ride,” said Baze. “I didn’t really have to steady turning for home but I threaded the needle. She’s a push-button horse to ride. She galloped out well after the wire and she was full of energy. I gave her a nice pat crossing the wire, she threw her ears up and was just having a good time.”
Gaga A, who improved her overall record to 29-5-3-5, picked up $46,080 for the win, increasing her career earnings to $273,031.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Gas Total, who came off a second place finish on the main track in the Grade I Vanity Stakes May 9, was the heavy 3-5 favorite and finished 1 ¾ lengths clear of Irish-bred Halljoy. Gas Total paid $2.60 and $2.20.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, HallJoy sat second early and proved third best, finishing a head in front of Customer Base. Off at 9-1, she paid $3.60 to show.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.