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Daddysruby won the 2023 La Brea Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park, narrowly upsetting the race over Big Pond.
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A first condition allowance winner on Oct. 27, longshot Daddysruby went to the front in Tuesday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes and just held on late to win by a nose over fellow California-bred Big Pond as Juan Hernandez and Peter Miller teamed to get the seven furlong distance in 1:23.06.
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Quick from her rail post position, Peter Miller’s Daddysruby, with favored Howl in hot pursuit, tired noticeably at which point the winner was able to open up a critical two length advantage on Big Pond three furlongs from home. Although a length clear at the sixteenth pole, fatigue set-in and Daddysruby just managed to stave off a determined challenge from the legendary Frankie Dettori aboard the runner-up.
Off at 6-1 in a field of nine sophomore fillies, Daddysruby paid $14.20, $6.20 and $4.20.
Owned by Jethorse, LLC, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, Daddysruby, who is headquartered at San Luis Rey Downs and was making her first stakes start, had four wins from five starts coming into today. With the La Brea winner’s share of $180,000, Daddysruby more than doubled her earnings to $352,014.
In a huge effort, Tim Yakteen’s Big Pond, a winner versus statebreds of the seven furlong Fleet Treat Stakes this past July at Del Mar, was off at 5-1 and paid $5.40 and $3.60 while finishing four lengths in front of well fancied Clearly Unhinged.
The second choice at 5-2, Clearly Unhinged, who was ridden by Umberto Rispoli, paid $3.00 and finished a half length in front of Royal Spa.
The 8-5 favorite, Howl faded to finish eighth.
Fractions on the race were 22.21, 44.49 and 1:09.60.
JUAN HERNANDEZ, DADDYSRUBY, WINNER: “We just wanted to get a good position because we were on the rail. I watched the other horses break and I knew we didn’t need to go right to the lead. We broke quick. She’s so game. She gave me a couple of more jumps in the lane. I wasn’t so sure when we crossed the wire, but when my number went up, I was so happy.”
PETER MILLER, DADDYSRUBY, WINNER: “We knew from the inside that we would have to go. I was hoping for an outside draw, but I drew the two hole when I listened in. We knew she had a lot of speed and we knew he kind of had to go. I told Juan, ‘Help her away from there, if they go crazy, she doesn’t need the lead you can sit, but if you can get the lead take it.” And he did.
“You don’t remember all the photo finishes that you won, you remember all the ones that you’ve lost, so I’m sitting here thinking I lost another one. Another C Z Rocket in the Santa Anita Sprint and another Reneesgotzip in the Santa Anita Oaks, here we go again. I just sat up there and waited for the steward’s decision.”
GARY BARBER, PART- OWNER, DADDYSRUBY, WINNER: “That was a close one, I didn’t know who got it. It was really tough, I looked like we were going to come second but winning like that it’s thrilling and were very happy. She is a horse for horses. There is a lot of options for her. She is just all heart, and she was just a warrior today. There’s nothing better than winning a Grade I, on opening day. We put a lot of money into this game and these are the moments we want to enjoy and share the victory with all of the partners and friends.”
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