CYPRESS, CA – Summer Wind Equine’s homebred Chasing Yesterday stepped out of her famous big brother’s shadow and firmly into the limelight on Saturday, putting forth a game effort to win a tight photo finish in the Grade 1, $300,000 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos.
Breaking widest in the field of six as the 3/2 favorite under Drayden Van Dyke, Chasing Yesterday was unable to cross over in time before hitting the first turn and was forced to run four-wide through it while her Bob Baffert stablemate Mother Mother posted opening fractions of :23.25, :47.07, and 1:11.17. Still running wide the length of the backstretch, Chasing Yesterday crept up four-wide in the far turn and collared the top trio, creating a wall of horses aiming for the finish line. Hitting her best strides in the final furlong, Chasing Yesterday dug in and outlasted the upset-minded Enaya Alrabb by a head and Mother Mother by a neck at the wire. The Baffert disciple crossed in a final time of 1:42.59 for the 8 1/2-furlong event over the fast dirt track.
“Those two fillies inside her both ran super, but my filly dug in and just kept coming,” said Van Dyke, who also won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity Stakes two races prior. “She really showed us she’s a half-sister to American Pharoah. Winning two Grade 1 races in the same day is amazing.’’
The other half of the field played no part in the stretch run. Oxy Lady, shipping west with regular rider Declan Cannon, took fourth by 1 1/4 lengths over Sold It, while Vibrance never fired and completed the order of finish.
The Starlet is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Chasing Yesterday earned 10 points for the win, with Enaya Alrabb receiving 4 for second, Mother Mother 2 for third, and Oxy Lady 1 for fourth.
Chasing Yesterday’s win was her third straight following victories in the $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar on November 12 and the $75,000 Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita on October 14. The juvenile daughter of Tapit, whose lone loss in five starts was a disappointing seventh in September’s Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, has now earned $324,250 in her young career.
“We thought Mother Mother would be on the lead and I told (her jockey Florent Geroux) just try to nurse her along,” Baffert said. “(Chasing Yesterday) was so wide. Turning for home, I really thought Mother Mother was going to kick on and keep going. It was a really thrilling finish. I didn’t (think that Chasing Yesterday) was going to get there because she had been so wide. She’s a nice filly, but (Van Dyke) really sat patient. He loves this filly and he had a lot of confidence in her. This kid is like (Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick) Mahomes. He’s smart and has a lot of natural talent. Pretty nice to get a Grade 1 win with American Pharoah’s sister.’’
Chasing Yesterday returned $5 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. Enaya Alrabb brought back $15.80 to place and $4.60 to show, while Mother Mother paid $2.80 to show.