INGLEWOOD, Calif. (October 31, 2010)—Earning her first win on turf in nearly two years, Briecat, a 13-1 longshot, led throughout to take the $150,000 Las Palmas Handicap Sunday.
The Grade II for fillies and mares was the closing day feature of the inaugural meet for the Oak Tree Racing Association at Hollywood Park.
Providing jockey Patrick Valenzuela with his third stakes win – second behind Rafael Bejarano’s five – of the 22-day season, Briecat quickly took control from her inside post in the field of eight, then gamely held Westwood Pride safe for the victory.
Owned by David and Holly Wilson and trained by Vladimir Cerin, the 5-year-old daughter of Adcat and the Marlin mare Silk Briefcase won for the eighth time in 24 starts. With her first win in a graded event, Briecat increased her earnings to $467,805.
Over a firm turf course, the Florida bred covered the mile in 1:34.77. She returned $29, $10.60 and $5.60. Briecat was the longest priced winner of the Las Palmas since Onceinabluemamoon’s 14-1 surprise in 1995 for owner Louie Rousell III and trainer Jack Van Berg.
Before Sunday, Briecat’s last turf victory had come in the Chandler Stakes Nov. 15, 2008 at Turf Paradise.
“She’s very, very tough on the lead,’’ said Cerin. “The key with her is to open up when she turns for home and hope they can’t get her. Today they couldn’t.
“I still wasn’t confident running her today. We have her nominated for a race in Louisiana ($125,000 Treasure Chest) on the night of the Delta Jackpot (Nov. 20 at Delta Downs). But I figured if we run her here, I won’t have to train her hard.
“He (Valenzuela) is just unbelievable. I told him if he was in a bank, they’d arrest him for stealing.’’
Looking for her third victory in five starts since joining the stable of Krisitn Mulhall earlier in the year, Westwood Pride paid $7.20 and $3.80 while beaten by a neck. Turning Top, the 5-2 second choice, returned $2.80 to show. She finished a head behind Westwood Pride.
Wynning Ride, Distinctive, Princess Taylor, Blue Maiden, the 13-10 favorite and Value Stream completed the order of finish.
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