Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, the leading rider at Calder Race Course, guided Cellars Shiraz to a 2 ½-length victory over Maliziosa in Saturday's $200,000 Calder Oaks.
The win by Velasquez was a record third in the Calder Oaks.
Trained by William Cesare, Cellars Shiraz, a daughter of Kissin Kris, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 4/5 and paid $5.00, $2.60 and $2.10 as the slight 3/2 favorite. The bay filly is now 3-for-3 on the Calder grass and has a record of 5-3-0 in eight starts on the turf.
Maliziosa, with Jerry Bailey aboard, rallied from ninth to take the place spot and paid $2.80 and $2.20. Something Ventured, with Jose Santos up, set the early pace with Cellars Shiraz, but settled for third and paid $2.60.
Owned by the Bitterroot Racing Stable, Cellars Shiraz banked $120,000 to propel her lifetime earnings to $483,160. The win was her eighth in 20 lifetime starts and has captured six of 11 races in 2002.
" I told my agent this filly can't lose here," said Velasquez. "When she ran in Chicago (the Pucker Up Sept. 14), the filly that beat her (Little Treasure) was the best in the country. She's tough -- I like this filly. She doesn't need to be on the lead, just close to the pace.
"At the half-mile pole I had a lot of horse," he added. "I pushed my filly at the eighth pole – no whip. I had a lot of horse left."