Wander Mom, third in the My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) last year, was in control of Saturday's running at Calder, taking the lead within the first quarter mile of the 1 1/8-mile Grand Slam I turf event and hanging on strongly at the end.
While she had her way, 9-1 shot Wander Mom was fully extended to hold off the late rush of Strawberry Blonde at the wire, defeating her by a head. Strawberry Blonde altered course and rallied five wide to just miss. Babae, the post time 2-1 favorite in the 10-horse field, was close to the lead early but had to also take a wide route into the stretch, finishing willingly to get home third, just a half-length behind Strawberry Blonde.
Jockey Eibar Coa guided the 4-year-old filly around the course in moderate fractions of :25, :49 3/5, 1:13 1/5, 1:36 2/5 and 1:48 2/5 for the nine panels.
A Kentucky-bred by Maria's Mon, Wander Mom is trained by Eddie Plesa, Jr. for owner Jaime S. Carrion.
"I didn't plan for her to go to the front, it just kind of developed," said Plesa. "Eibar is a great judge of pace and was able to take advantage. When I saw them hang up 25 for the first quarter and she was going easily in front, I felt pretty good. She's been a little unlucky is some of her races this year. She finally got her first graded stakes win."
It was the second straight win for Wander Mom, who snapped a nine-race losing streak in 2002 with a seven-furlong optional claiming win on the Calder turf Nov. 9. Overall, she's won seven races in 31 career earnings. The $60,000 winner's purse improved her career earnings to nearly $346,656.
Wander Mom paid $20, $6.60 and $3. Strawberry Blonde returned $4.40 and $3. Babae paid $2.40.