INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 29, 2012)—Making her first start in more than five months, Quiet Oasis upset seven rivals and won the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (video) Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Owner J. Paul Reddam and jockey Mario Gutierrez, who collected his first local stakes win, hope the result was a positive omen for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
Gutierrez will ride the Reddam-owned I’ll Have Another May 5 as the 3-year-old son of Flower Alley tries to repeat his success in the Santa Anita Derby.
A 4-year-old Irish bred filly by Oasis Dream and the Sunday Silence mare Silent Heir, Quiet Oasis, who won by a half-length, had been idle since finishing sixth of eight in the Grade I Matriarch last Nov. 25.
After recording six drills since March 7, Quiet Oasis was ready to fire for trainer Ben Cecil, winning for the third time in eight starts. Two of her wins have come in four starts in this country. She’s earned $122,379.
Completing the mile on turf in 1:34.63 in the Grade III, Quiet Oasis paid $33.20, $12.60 and $6.40. Briecat, the pacesetter, and Antares World, the longest shot in the cast at 46-1, finished in a dead heat for second. Briecat returned $4 and $4.60 while Antares World paid $19 and $12.
Nereid, the 6-5 favorite who was making her 2012 debut for trainer John Shirreffs, was fourth, one length behind Quiet Oasis.
It was the first loss in four tries over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf course for the 4-year-old daughter of Rock Hard Ten, whose biggest victory came when she finished in a dead heat with Cambina in the Grade I American Oaks last July 16.
Off the board in her previous two attempts at the Wilshire distance, Quiet Oasis tracked the pace for most of the journey, then wore down Briecat late while outfinishing Antares World.
The win was the third in the Wilshire for Cecil, one less than leader Bobby Frankel. The trainer credited Reddam with the decision to run in the Wilshire.
“I told him we should run in the 6 ½ furlong allowance (the seventh race May 4) because I thought first time off the layoff she’d be a little keen.
“I let him make the call and he made the right one to run here. He gets all the credit. We’ve always thought a lot of her. We’re hoping next time she’ll settle even more. How far she’ll go is a question mark.’’
John Shirreffs, who trains Nereid for owner Eric Kronfeld, was far from discouraged by her return. Nereid’s most recent race before Sunday was a third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a Grade I, last Oct. 15 at Keeneland.
“She ran really well,’’ he said. “I thought it was a very nice race first time back. We’ll move on from here.’’
Racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 1 p.m.
The Hollywood Park Casino will be open for dark day simulcasts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is free and simulcasts begin at 10:10 a.m.
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