ARCADIA, CA – Slam Dunk Racing and James Branham’s Maxim Rate proved much the best in Sunday’s $200,000 Goldikova Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

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The 2/1 second choice in the field of seven, Maxim Rate and jockey Umberto Rispoli broke from post 2 and settled toward the rear while the even-money favorite Raymundos Secret posted opening fractions of :22.79, :46.20, and 1:09.92.

Tipped out three-wide heading into the far turn, Maxim Rate circled much of the field and swept past the bettors’ choice at the top of the stretch.

Drawing clear in the stretch, the Simon Callaghan trainee crossed 2 1/2 lengths clear while completing the firm turf mile route in 1:33.85.

Credit: Ernie Belmonte

“I think she has no problem with the distance,” Rispoli said. “I think Simon knows what he is doing. We know that she can go further in the distance and that’s why I wasn’t afraid to go a mile and three-wide. Everybody knows I like to save ground, but that was not the case. … When she took the lead, she kind of pulled herself up a little bit, but she’s definitely improving and I think she still can improve.”

The 21/1 longshot Zee Drop rallied late to take second by a length over Tonahutu, who failed to improve from her pace-pressing trip.

Raymundos Secret, SilberpfeilAtomic Blonde, and Hang a Star completed the order of finish.

Maxim Rate’s win was her third of the year and improved her overall record to 13-5-3-0. The 4-year-old Exchange Rate filly, purchased for $235,000 as a yearling, has now earned $402,185.

“She was always a very good filly, won her first time out, and then she just plateaued a little bit as a 3-year-old, so we gave her some time off,” Callaghan said. “Thankfully, the owners were really patient with her and that really helped her develop. I think she definitely is a better filly now, but I honestly think there’s more scope for improvement. Obviously, a very exciting filly for the future.”

Maxim Rate returned $6.80 to win, $4 to place, and $2.40 to show. Zee Drop brought back $14.20 to place and $6 to show, while Tonahutu paid $4.60 to show.