ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 1, 2014)–A maiden winner on Dec. 29, Fashion Plate, ridden by Gary Stevens, was sent to the front and controlled the pace throughout in winning Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a half length, getting one mile on Santa Anita’s main track in 1:37.22.
“She’s a very cooperative filly,” said Stevens. “You never know first time going long. She broke very relaxed and I didn’t want to get her rolling too early. She was content to stay inside of Rafael (Bejarano, on 5-2 second choice Taste Like Candy) around the first turn and at the three quarter pole I knew it (the pace) wasn’t good for either one of us, even though she was relaxed, so I let her out a notch and she did what I wanted her to do.”
On a personal level, Stevens allowed, “This was pretty-much the hardest I’ve had to work this meet.”
The third choice in a field of seven at 9-2, Fashion Plate paid $11.40, $4.40 and $3.80.
Trained by Simon Callaghan and owned by Arnold Zetcher, LLC and Michael Tabor, Fashion Plate was pursued throughout by Taste Like Candy and shook loose of her leaving the quarter pole only to be immediately engaged by even money favorite Streaming from the top of the lane home.
“When they came to her, she really dug in and tried real hard,” said Callaghan. “She’s a special filly. It means a lot to win this race. Gary put up a great ride. She went nice fractions (23.19, 46.26, 1:10.91, 1:23.75). She went pretty quick and I think that was a testament to her courage and ability that she was able to do that and sustain the run. We’ll look at the Santa Anita Oaks (Grade I, April 5) and if she does well there, maybe we’ll take her to Kentucky (Oaks, May 2).”
With first money of $180,000, Fashion Plate, a Kentucky-bred filly by the Unbridled’s Song stallion Old Fashioned, ran her earnings to $219,250. The Las Virgenes was her second win from four starts.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Streaming, who came off a 1 ½ length win in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Hollywood Starlet Dec. 7, sat a comfortable third around the Club House turn and down the backside and loomed ominously a sixteenth out, but couldn’t get on terms with the winner, finishing second, three quarters of a length in front of late closer Arethusa.
“Turning for home, I thought we had it,” said Baffert. “That’s why he’s (Gary Stevens) the best though, he’s tough.”
Streaming paid $2.80 and $2.40.
Far back early, Arethusa, with Corey Nakatani up, was off at 10-1 and paid $4.60 to show. She finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of a tiring Taste Like Candy.