ARCADIA, CA – Alan Klein’s homebred Miss Sunset broke sharpest from the gate in the field of six and never looked back, cruising to victory with ease in Saturday’s $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes at Santa Anita.
After bursting alertly from post 4 as the 4/5 favorite under Mike Smith, Miss Sunset quickly took command with a length advantage down the backside and set fractions of :22.33 and :44.90. While her foes were stacked three-wide behind her heading into the far turn, Miss Sunset calmly quickened and effortlessly kicked away down the stretch. Under only a moderate hand-ride from an otherwise motionless Smith, the Jeff Bonde-trained Miss Sunset hit the wire by 7 lengths in a final time of 1:16.30 for the 6 1/2-furlong event over a good main course.
“It went exactly to plan,” Smith said. “She’s so quick, and I basically just stayed out of her way. She runs the turn so well. She got a little separation there and was able to take a breather. It makes my job easy.”
A photo was needed to examine a three-way finish for second. After review, Cuddle Alert was given the placing, a neck ahead of Desert Steel, with a late-closing Barbara Beatrice unable to get up in time and finishing fourth, behind by a head. How About Zero and Starlite Style completed the order of finish for a race that was originally scheduled for the 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf course, but due to inclement weather earlier the night before, had been moved to the dirt.
Miss Sunset’s win was her second straight after she won last month’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes over 6 furlongs on the main track. The 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief improved her record to 15-9-1-2 with career earnings of $738,735 for Klein and co-owner Philip Lebherz.
“That was exciting,” Bonde said. “It was fun to watch. She ran a really good race today. She was very calm and relaxed and seems to be getting better with age.”
Miss Sunset returned $3.60 to win, $3 to place, and $2.60 to show. Cuddle Alert brought back $ to place and $ to show, while Show paid $ to show.