Irish-Bred Pasar Silbano Gains First U.S. Win in La Habra Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 1, 2009) – Irish-bred Pasar Silbano, making her second United States start, burst to the front a couple of furlongs into Santa Anita’s 36th running of the Grade III, La Habra Stakes on Sunday and proceeded to dominate the 6 ½-furlong turf event for 3-year-old fillies.

With Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the irons, the bay filly owned by Three Chimneys Racing maintained a safe margin throughout the late stages before reaching the wire 1 ¾ lengths ahead of 77-1 longshot Gold Goddess with Real Fancy Runner another neck back in third.

Pasar Silbano’s winning time of 1:12.67 over the downhill grass layout was the second fastest in race history, a mere tick off the 1:12.66 record established by Super Freaky two years previous.

Purchased privately late last year and turned over to trainer James Cassidy, Pasar Silbano had made her stateside debut last November in the Moccasin Stakes over Hollywood Park’s Polytrack surface and finished a non-threatening seventh.

Although she had been a winner in Ireland over synthetic surfaces, the return to a grass surface over which she won a listed stakes at The Curragh was clearly to her liking. Her European class was a factor in her being sent off as the 9-2 third choice in the La Habra’s field of eleven starters.

Commenting on Pasar Silbano’s experience at Hollywood Park, Smith said, “She had just gotten here from Ireland, and she didn’t have time to acclimate. She broke flat-footed and just seemed lost out there.”

Smith was impressed with her subsequent acclimation. “I’ve been getting on her since,” he said, “and coming into this race, she’s been breezing dynamite. She’s really quick, and today I was trying to slow her down coming down the hill. She ran great.”

Pasar Silbano paid $11.20, $6.80 and $4.40. Gold Goddess, with Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard, returned $51.20 and $19.40. Real Fancy Runner, handled by Joseph Talamo, paid $9.40 to show.

Cassidy said he told Smith he thought their filly would break better in the La Habra than she had in the Moccasin. “She still broke a tad slow,” Cassidy said, “but I think it was because she was in the gate so long, being in the one hole. But when she went by those horses after the first quarter, I was kind of shocked. I thought maybe we were using up a little too much too early, but, obviously, that wasn’t the case.”

Pasar Silbano’s fifth victory in eight career starts added $60,000 to her earnings to bring her lifetime total to $251,804.

After dark days on Monday and Tuesday, Santa Anita will resume racing on Wednesday with an eight-race card that commences at 1 p.m.