Green Hills Farm's favored Voodoo Dancer came from mid-pack in the stretch to mow down the front runners and score an easy two-length win in the $150,000 Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at Del Mar Sunday.
The 4-year-old filly by Kingmambo is trained by Christophe Clement, who claimed his first Del Mar stakes win, and was ridden by Kent Desormeaux. It was her ninth career victory in 15 career starts. The $90,000 first prize increased Voodoo Dancer's career earnings to more than $855,000.
"She put me in a perfect spot going into the first turn, then it was a matter of biding my time from there," said Desormeaux. "She's an old pro. She knows just what to do. When I cut her loose, I heard one of the other riders yell "Oooooooo." We were gone. It was a pleasurable ride. I was just the lucky pilot."
Final time for the 1 1/16 mile event was 1:41 2/5.
Voodoo Dancer was second by a nose to Tates Creek in her most recent effort in Saratoga's Diana Handicap (gr. IT) July 27. A subsequent start for her at Saratoga was skipped due to wet conditions, prompting the trip west, according to Clement.
Voodoo Dancer carried top weight of 120 pounds.
I'm The Business, a 23-1 longshot piloted by Garrett Gomez, closed gamely to nose out Skywriting for second, with Noches de Rosa another length back in fourth place.
"When the winner went, I stayed in touch with her, but I couldn't catch up to her," said Garrett Gomez, who rode I'm The Business. "She's probably just a little better filly than mine, but my horse ran her eyeballs out."
Janet, the 9-5 second choice in the field of seven, rated in fourth most of the way, but had no punch in the stretch and finished sixth.
"She was in the right spot," said Janet's jockey, David Flores. "We had the right trip. But it just wasn't there. What can you say?"
Trainer Darrell Vienna added, "She was kind of mad today. She had a little trouble getting in the gate. I think she just started off wrong."
Voodoo Dancer paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.40. I'm The Business was second and returned $10 and $5.20. The show spot went to pacesetting Skywriting, who paid $4.40. The $2 exacta was $68.60.