ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2016)—Attentive to a fast pace throughout, LNJ Foxwoods’ Constellation overhauled a tenacious Finley’sluckycharm inside the sixteenth pole en route to a half-length victory in Monday’s Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Flavien Prat, the 3-year-old filly by Bellamy Road negotiated seven furlongs in 1:21.83.
A 5 ¼ length winner of the six furlong Phoenix Stakes at Turf Paradise on Nov. 12, Constellation was scheduled to be ridden back by David Flores, but when Flores was reportedly unable to make flight connections from Kentucky, he was replaced early in the day by Prat, who sat second through splits of 22.24, 44.58 and 1:09.05.
Off at 12-1 in a field of eight, Constellation paid $27.00, $9.40 and $6.00.
Originally based in New York with trainer Steve Asmussen, Constellation made her second start for Hollendorfer in the La Brea and notched her first career graded stakes victory. In so doing, she improved her overall record to 8-5-1-1. With the winner’s share of $180,000, she increased her earnings to $479,464.
Ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr. Midwest-based Finley’sluckycharm, finished three lengths in front of Enola Gray and paid $3.80 and $3.00 as the narrow second choice at 9-5.
Ridden by Mike Smith, Enola Gray was third best at 9-2 and paid $3.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.24, 44.58 and 1:09.05.
FLAVIEN PRAT, CONSTELLATION, WINNER: “She is a really fine filly. She broke well, but I couldn’t take a hold of her. She just wouldn’t relax. When we got to the 3/8ths pole, she finally relaxed and she did everything to get there for the win. I was fortunate to get the call on her today. David (Flores couldn’t get here due to travel problems).”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, LIGHTSTREAM, BEATEN FAVORITE: “I feel like it all came down to the turn where she got beaten. We were going okay but usually she just relaxes and makes a big run and she didn’t. She broke good and she wanted to go a bit early but she didn’t really relax for the big run.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, CONSTELLATION, WINNER: “That race kind of unfolded the way we thought it would. I think Flavien was a little lucky to get through between horses, and that was the key to winning the race.
“We wanted to ride David Flores back because he made a trip out to Turf Paradise to ride this filly. He couldn’t get a plane out here – it got delayed – so Prat was open and he was the logical guy to go to since he’s been the leading rider at several meets. We need him to ride for us, so I’m glad we got a win with him in a Grade I.”
BRETT CALHOUN, TRAINER FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM, SECOND: “I thought she ran great. I thought she had a great trip. We knew the pace was going to be pretty hot and she handled it well. She handled the seven-eighths well and that was maybe a question mark. It could be that winning her last race like she did (a six furlong minor stakes at Churchill Downs by 8 ½ lengths on Nov. 25), and coming back in a short period of time . . . took its toll.”
Source: Santa Anita Park