Neversaidiwassweet got a perfect stalking trip from jockey Rafael Bejarano in her stakes debut, edging past Holiday for Kitten in deep stretch to win the $100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the final day of the Turf Festival at Hollywood Park Nov. 28 (VIDEO).
In her first start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, the Maryland-bred 2-year-old daughter of Eurosilver scored by a half-length over Holiday for Kitten, who was shipping in from Keeneland for trainer Wesley Ward. A New York invader, 8-5 favorite Cloneylass, finished a non-threatening third in the one-mile grass test.
The winning time was 1:35.88.
Bejarano was able to get a head-strong Neversaidiwassweet, a recent gate-to-wire winner against maidens for trainer Kristin Mulhall over the course and distance, to sit off the early pace after she bumped coming out of the gate. California Nectar, prompted by Holiday for Kitten in the seven-horse field, showed the way while clicking off quarter-mile fractions of :23.79, :48.24, and 1:12.06.
On the backstretch, Neversaidiwassweet, along the inside, and Wave of Applause, recovering from a poor start on the outside, moved as a team into contention. Neversaidiwassweet, right behind the leaders on the final turn, hugged the inside as Holiday Kitten, angling between California Nectar and Wave of Applause for jockey Joel Rosario, reached the front in upper stretch.
Holiday for Kitten had a clear lead over the progressing Neversaidiwassweet mid-stretch, but Neversaidiwassweet gradually pulled to within one length at the sixteenth pole and overcame the leader on the outside under left-handed urging in the final drive to the wire.
Bejarano said Neversaidiwassweet's rating tactics were not by design.
"She didn't show me any speed today because she broke really, really slow," the jockey said. "I had to change my game plan because I thought I was going to be on the lead easy. After the first turn, all I could do was stay behind and make one big run."
Cloneylass, ridden by Corey Nakatani for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., rallied from fifth after angling out a bit in the stretch to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner. She edged California Nectar by a half-length.
Neversaidiwassweet, a $28,000 Ocala Breeders' Sale buy in April, earned $60,000 for John Brunetti's Red Oak Stable in the Miesque, which was her fourth career start.
Hollendorfer, who indicated that Neversaidiwassweet would not return for the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) Dec. 11, said Brunetti bought the filly after her maiden win.
"She's worked well on the synthetic, and I think she'll run on dirt, too, but we have to prove that, I guess," Hollendorfer said. "In my observation of her gallop out, I would think she could get a lot more distance."
Originally in the barn of Greg Compton at Ellis Park, Neversaidiwassweet ran second in her debut in July on the turf, a half-length behind Kathmanblu, who has since won both the Jessamine and Golden Rod (gr. II) stakes in Kentucky. After an unplaced effort at Ellis, Neversaidiwassweet was transferred to Mulhall in Southern California, breaking her maiden by 1 1/4 lengths Oct. 14.
Alan S. Kline Revocable Trust bred the winner, a dark bay or brown filly produced by the Storm Creek mare Surging Storm.
Second choice Neversaidiwassweet carried 118 pounds and paid $6.80, $3.60, and $2.60. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Holiday for Kitten, who broke her maiden in her most recent start Oct. 31 on the Churchill Downs turf, returned $4.20 and $2.80 and completed a $26.20 exacta. Irish-bred Cloneylass, favored off a third-place finish in her American debut in the Oct. 14 Jessamine at Keeneland, was $2.20 to show.
California Nectar was followed by Wave of Applause, Katy's Kitty, and Lucky Trippi.