Lady of Fifty charged down the outside to sweep past the leaders mid-stretch, registering her first graded stakes win in the $200,000 Bayakoa Handicap Presented by the Oak Tree Racing Association (gr. II) Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park (VIDEO).
Trained and co-owned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer along with longtime partner George Todaro, the 3-year-old daughter of After Market was ridden to victory by Martin Garcia.
Hollendorfer captured the Bayakoa for the second time in three years following Washington Bridge in 2010. Garcia won the race for the second year in a row after guiding Ellafitz to victory in 2011.
Lady of Fifty was timed in 1:44.36 over the Cushion Track while drawing away for a 3 1/4-length tally. Though Lady of Fifty is based at Hollywood Park, this was the gray/roan filly's first start at the track. She has now won four of seven races over synthetic tracks.
Out of the graded stakes-placed Maria's Mon mare K. D.'s Shady Lady, the winner was bred in Kentucky by Cloverleaf Farms II and sold for $40,000 as a 2010 Keeneland September yearling.
Eight fillies and mares entered the Bayakoa, with Canadian invader Inglorious a slight favorite over Charm the Maker. Both were sent off at odds of 5-2.
Third choice Lady of Fifty broke on the lead along the inside for Garcia but was dropped back under a hold as outsiders Changethechannel and Willa B Awesome took control on the clubhouse turn with Inglorious stalking in third. Lady of Fifty, settling in the back half of the pack, tracked the leaders as Changethechannel took the field through quarter-mile fractions of :24.08, :47.71, and 1:12.14.
Angled to the outside for the drive, Lady of Fifty rallied from fifth in the lane to get the lead at the furlong pole and quickly drew clear under urging from Garcia for a comfortable victory.
"I wanted to take the lead but those other horses, they kept sending and sending," Garcia said. "I let them all 'go' and when I finally moved out, she relaxed. I just kept her on the outside because I didn't want to get into any more trouble. When I asked her to go, she just exploded. She was much the best."
Open Water rallied on the outside under Corey Nakatani to get second by a half-length over Inglorious and Mike Smith. Inglorious, last year's Queen's Plate winner over males, was making her first start since July 8.
Charm the Maker, who was pinched back at the start, finished well for fourth, followed by Changethechannel, Willa B Awesome, Class Included, and Madera Castana.
Lady of Fifty, coming off a half-length triumph in the one-mile Palm Springs Handicap Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park, posted her sixth win from 11 starts while boosting her earnings to $320,000. As a 2-year-old, she captured the Golden Gate Debutante, the Corte Madera, and California Oaks in succession at Golden Gate Fields.
"She's gotten bigger and stronger and has been training real well," Hollendorfer said. "We're very proud of her and very pleased with the way she's doing right now. Backing out of there early may have been the thing that made her win because the pace got a little rapid out front. She recovered nicely and didn't nick herself up. We feel very fortunate for that."
Hollendorfer said he was uncertain on what's next for Lady of Fifty.
Carrying 114 pounds, Lady of Fifty paid $8.80, $5.60, and $3.60. She topped an $84.60 exacta. Open Water, switching from the turf for trainer Eric Guillot, ran a good race from off the pace to return $10.60 and $6.40. Inglorious paid $3.20 to show.