INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 10, 2012)—A layoff of some 6 ½ months proved no issue for All Star Heart in the $72,800 Redondo Beach Stakes (video) Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Making her first appearance since winning the Grade II Las Palmas Stakes last Nov. 6, the Canadian bred rallied strongly in the final furlong to defeat Hard to Resist and six others.
Owned by breeder Gerald Gibbs and trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, the 5-year-old daughter of Arch and the Ascot Knight mare Gift of the Heart completed the mile on turf in 1:35.45. Her victory margin was a half-length.
Enabling Brice Blanc to become the first jockey to win the Redondo Beach twice – he also won with Turning Top in 2010 – All Star Heart paid $8.60, $5.60 and $3.60 as the 3-1 second choice.
Fresh off a win in an optional claimer May 3, Hard to Resist saved ground to gain the lead in the stretch from pacesetters Broken Dreams and Briecat, but couldn’t contain the winner. Hard to Resist returned $8.40 and $4.80.
Briecat, who was seeking her third win over the grass at Betfair Hollywood Park, outfinished 23-1 shot Broken Dreams by a half-length and paid $3.60 to show.
A seven race maiden who had finished no better than third while racing in Kentucky and Canada for former trainers David Ashcraft and Arthur Silvera, All Star Heart has blossomed for McAnally.
The Redondo Beach win was her sixth in nine starts since she arrived in California the latter part of 2010. All Star Heart has earned $305,385 – all but $4,430 for McAnally – in 16 races.
“What a nice filly,’’ said McAnally. “You can always tell when she’s coming around. She starts to dapple out and act nasty. You walk in the stall to give her a carrot and after she gets the carrot she’ll rear and kick.
“She was away because she had a little splint. It just took time.’’
The disappointment in the Redondo Beach was Star Billing. A double stakes winner over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf, she finished last as the 8-5 favorite in her initial outing since her 10-1 upset in the Grade I Matriarch last Nov. 25.
“She bobbled a little on the first turn and she was a little uncomfortable from that point,’’ said jockey Victor Espinoza. “On the backside, she tried to grab the bridle just a little, but not much. At the three-eighths, I emptied out and I just didn’t have enough horse to keep going with her. We’ll see what happens next time.’’
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. The first simulcast goes at 10:10 a.m.
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