FAVORED HOME SWEET ASPEN GAINS FIRST STAKES WIN IN ROWAN

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 9, 2011) – Home Sweet Aspen, Jenny Craig’s 3-year-old homebred daughter of Candy Ride, captured her first stakes victory Sunday with a sparkling performance in Sunday’s $67,490 Louis R. Rowan Stakes for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs.

With jockey Joel Rosario gaining his third win of the afternoon, Home Sweet Aspen took the lead at the outset, rebuffed a bid by 2-1 second choice Mildly Offensive in midstretch, and scored by 2 ¼ lengths in a sprightly 1:15.00.

Mildly Offensive, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, raced in second throughout, finishing two lengths ahead of third-place Madera Castana with Hector Berrios aboard in the field of six.

For Home Sweet Aspen, it was the chestnut filly’s third win in six starts that include three second-place finishes. Her only previous stakes attempt resulted in a runner-up effort to Victoria’s Wildcat in the Grade III, $118,800 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6.

Trained by John Sadler, Home Sweet Aspen paid $4.20, $2.60 and $2.20 for her Rowan triumph. Mildly Offensive paid $3 and $2.60 while Madera Castana returned $4 to show. The winning purse of $40,050 elevated Home Sweet Aspen’s career earnings to $157,822.

Assistant trainer Larry Benavidez, deputizing for Sadler, talked about the winning filly’s recent improvement. “She’s trained well since Del Mar,” he said. “She’s put on weight; she’s just thriving right now. I told Joel (Rosario) to lay just outside like second or third and not to be too far off the pace. But when she made a :45-and-two (for a half-time) lead, I said it’s over. She’s got a pretty bright future.”

“It was easy because she went to the lead, and that’s how she likes to run,” Rosario said. “I had to keep her working coming for home. A couple of horses started coming a little bit, but she started kicking away. And there were some tough horses in here.”

Santa Anita presents a special Columbus Day program of racing on Monday. The nine-race holiday card is headed by the Grade III, $100,000 Morvich Stakes. First post is at 1 p.m.

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