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ARCADIA, CA – Ultra-classy Ce Ce led the parade of winners home Sunday at Santa Anita Park on an undercard supporting the Zenyatta Stakes (G2) that also saw Zero Tolerance, Mackinnon, and Cairo Memories crowned stakes champs at The Great Race Place.
In what amounted to a paid workout, Bo Hirsch homebred Ce Ce waltzed a 5-length win in Sunday’s $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita, with her next stop scheduled to be the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) November 6 at Del Mar.
Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Ce Ce – a 2-time Grade 1 winner last year at age 4 – got 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.00 in what was her fifth start of the year.
Third, about 3 lengths off of dueling leaders Scotish Star and Eyes Open 3 furlongs out, Ce Ce appeared well within herself as she moved into contention around the far turn and gained the advantage with a furlong to run in a facile win under a hand ride with her ears pricked.
“She’s good right now,” said Espinoza, who rode her to a third-place finish going 7 furlongs in the Ballerina Handicap (G1) at Saratoga August 28. “Her last race was a little tough, but I worked her here and she was ready to run today. This race will be good for her confidence going into the Breeders’ Cup.”
A handy winner of the 7-furlong Princess Rooney Stakes (G2) in July 2 starts back at Gulfstream Park, Ce Ce – who also took Santa Anita’s Beholder Mile (G1) last year as well as the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park, was the prohibitive 1/5 favorite in a field of five fillies and mares and paid $2.40, $2.10, and $2.10.
A 5-year-old mare by Elusive Quality out of Hirsch’s Grade 1-winning Miss Houdini (by Belong to Me), Ce Ce now has 3 graded stakes wins among 7 victories from 15 overall starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $1,233,100.
“This is great, I couldn’t have written this up any better,” said McCarthy. “She had a couple of easy weeks after Saratoga. I thought she was doing well enough today to do it in the fashion she did it, especially when I wasn’t sure how the pace would wind up early. I couldn’t be happier with her. We are looking forward to getting her to Del Mar.”
On Deck, who followed the winner around the far turn, out-finished Scotish Star by a neck for second money with Ricky Gonzalez up and paid $9.80 and $4.60 while off at 31/1.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Scotish Star was off at 7/2 and paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.99, 45.15, and 1:09.46.
A gate-to-wire maiden winner going 6 furlongs on dirt August 20, versatile Zero Tolerance rallied from off the pace in her first try down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course to take Sunday’s $75,000 Unzip Me Stakes by 1 length under Flavien Prat. Trained by Peter Miller, the 3-year-old gray filly by Mizzen Mast got about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.67.
Breaking just a tad slow from post position 6 in a field of six, Zero Tolerance was attentive to the pace, about 3 lengths off the lead at the 1/2-mile pole. Set down by Prat approaching the dirt crossing while six-deep at the top of the stretch, Zero Tolerance kept to her task through the drive to prevail under a hand ride.
“She broke okay and then relaxed very nice,” said Prat, who was aboard for the maiden win as well. “When we crossed the dirt, she made a nice move through the lane.”
Second, beaten a nose in a 5-furlong maiden turf race two starts back on August 1, Zero Tolerance was the second choice in a field of seven sophomore fillies at 5/2 and paid $7.80, $4.00, and $3.00.
“I thought that she’s kind of a ‘tweener;’ she’s not really a two-turn filly, but 5 (furlongs) might be a little short for her, so we thought this would be kind of the distance that would be good for her,” said Miller. “I love the hill and I’m glad to have it back. I think she’s equally as good on dirt and turf, so it gives us a lot of options. I think her only real limitations will be distance.”
Owned by Custom Truck Accessories, Jason Hall, Joe Kelly and Michael Riordan, Zero Tolerance is out of the El Prado mare Torreadora. Zero Tolerance, who is now 2 for 3, picked up $48,600 for the win, increasing her earnings to $104,600.
Carpe Fortuna, who broke sharply from the outside, pressed the issue down the hill, made the lead a 1/4-mile out and was second-best, finishing a neck in front of favored Burgoo Alley. Off at 11/1 with Abel Cedillo, Carpe Fortuna paid $9.00 and $4.20.
Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Burgoo Alley was in tight quarters at the rail through the stretch and finished a head better than Brilliant Cut. Off at 8/5, Burgoo Alley paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.86, 43.45, and 1:05.66.
It’s on to the Breeders’ Cup for trainer Doug O’Neill’s Mackinnon as he accelerated powerfully off the turn for home and took the $200,000 Zuma Beach Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita. Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Mackinnon got 1 mile on turf in 1:33.80.
With the Zuma Beach being his third win in a row at the trip, it’s on now to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Mid-pack, about 6 lengths off the lead at the 1/2-mile pole, Mackinnon saved ground at the rail around the turn, idled into third position at the top of the lane, and blew by eventual runner-up Silver Surfer and early pacesetter Thirty Four Coupe in deep stretch in a huge effort.
“He’s getting better every race,” said Hernandez, who has now ridden him in his last 4 races. “He broke good, there was little speed, and he felt a little tired on the right side, so he changed leads to the right side. That’s why I had to check a little bit and decided to stay inside and save ground and make one run. He came with a huge run today. He’s improved a lot because the last couple of times I rode him, I had to work a little hard in the stretch with him. Today, I asked him a little and after that, he just took off again.”
A winner of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf on September 6, Mackinnon was off as the 6/5 favorite in a field of 10 juveniles and paid $4.40, $2.60, and $2.40.
“We didn’t get the most ideal trip,” said O’Neill. “He was a little green early, but Juan said once we got the first 1/2-mile behind us, he settled nicely. And as you could see, he finished up real well. If he comes out of this in good shape, it’s on to the Breeders’ Cup.”
English-bred Silver Surfer appeared to take control in upper stretch but was no match for the winner. Off at 5/2 with Flavien Prat, Silver Surfer paid $3.20 and $2.60 while finishing 1 1/4 lengths clear of Picota.
Ridden by John Velazquez, English-bred Picota was off at 17/1 and paid $5.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.33, 46.08, 1:09.85, and 1:21.90.
A close third heading into the far turn, the Bob Hess Jr. trainee Cairo Memories took off for home leaving the 1/4 pole and was never threatened through the lane en route to a 2 1/4-length score in the $200,000 Surfer Girl Stakes.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the 2-year-old filly by Cairo Prince got 1 mile on turf in 1:34.27 and will now likely start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) on November 5 at Del Mar.
“She’s been doing everything right,” said Hess. “We were encouraged by the way she broke her maiden and she’s been moving forward in her training. Hopefully, this sets us up for the Breeders’ Cup dance.”
A 4 1/2-length 1-mile maiden turf winner in her debut September 5, Cairo Memories was the second choice in a field of 11 at 4/1 and paid $10.00, $4.60, and $3.00.
“She brought some new energy from her first start,” said Desormeaux. “I think she was excited. I spent more time in the post parade calming her down. I worked her at Del Mar and before I ever rode her, I thought she was great. I was with the owners in the paddock and that was the longest wait because I wanted to see how deep the water was, and she’s shown (now) that she could really swim.”
Owned by David Bernsen, LLC and Schroeder Farms, LLC, Cairo Memories – who is out of the Indian Charlie mare Incarnate Memories – picked up $120,000 for the win, hiking her earnings to $162,000.
The 3/2 favorite with Flavien Prat, Irish-bred Helens Well rallied from next-to-last to finish second by a neck over Hemmerle and paid $3.00 and $2.40.
Off at 12/1 with Joe Bravo, Hemmerle was out-run late to finish third by a neck over Irish-bred Sterling Crest and paid $5.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.14, 45.72, 1:10 flat, and 1:22.26.
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