INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 16, 2013)—Arethusa, a 10-1 shot, picked the right spot to earn her first win, dominating five other 2-year-old fillies in the $100,250 Sharp Cat Stakes Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Defeated three times in maiden races at Del Mar and Santa Anita, the daughter of A.P. Indy took full advantage of a contested pace to give trainer Eoin Harty his second victory in the ungraded race.
The only other trainer with more than one win in the Sharp Cat is David Hofmans, who won the first two renewals with Zenyatta’s half-sister Balance (2005) and Runway Rosie (2006). Harty’s previous score came with Pamona Ball in 2008.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Arethusa, who is out of the Coronado’s Quest mare Miss Coronado, lagged well off the 23.63 and 47 fractions set by Pleasant Miss and 19-10 second choice Be Proud, began to rally strongly around the turn and easily swept past the weary Be Proud in the final eighth of a mile.
Owned and bred by Darley Stable, Arethusa, who covered the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track in 1:45.41, increased her earnings to $75,610.
The chestnut filly had finished 5 ¼ lengths behind Be Proud when runner-up Oct. 27 and was 5 ½ lengths behind winner Georgia, the even-money favorite in the Sharp Cat, when third Sept. 27.
Arethusa established a pair of Sharp Cat records in her Betfair Hollywood Park debut. She paid $23 – surpassing the $22.20 Midnight Ballet returned in 2012 – and the 8 ¼ length margin of victory bettered the 4 ¼ lengths May Day Rose won by in 2010.
The place and show price for Arethusa was $8 and $4.60.
“I knew the distance would be no problem,’’ said Harty. “I had two maidens nominated. I worked them (Nov. 11) and decided I’d run this one and not (Afsana). The other one will run (Nov. 22) against maidens.
“Arethusa has just improved every race. She’s a super mover and she’s trained here basically all of her career. I knew she wouldn’t get tired.
“I thought they would go fast enough and I hoped she could be third. Black type for a 2-year-old A.P. Indy filly is huge. We’ll definitely look at the (Grade I, $500,000-guaranteed Hollywood) Starlet (Dec. 7) now.’’
One of two representatives from the stable of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Be Proud paid $3.40 and $3 while finishing nine lengths clear of 8-1 shot Saintly Joan, who returned $3.80 to show.
Georgia, the other Baffert entrant, finished fifth, nearly 33 lengths behind the winner.
“She might have bled because at the half-mile I was completely out of horse,’’ said Rafael Bejarano of the favorite.
Racing will resume Sunday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The main event is the $100,000 Cat’s Cradle Handicap. Restricted to California bred or sired fillies and mares at 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track, the Cat’s Cradle is the third of nine races.
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