A 5-year-old mare by Crowd Pleaser, Palmilla tracked pacesetter Rosinka and second choice Herboriste for most of the 1 3/8 miles, narrowed the gap as they came out of the final turn and then went right on by both inside the sixteenth-pole. The Jonathon Sheppard trainee scored at odds of 20-1 in the field of six.
The final time was 2:17.28 over a firm turf course.
Rosinka, who won the John Rooney Memorial Stakes last month at Delaware in her 2008 debut and had captured five of her last six starts coming in, seemed to be well on her way to another victory until drifting out at the top of the stretch under Cornelio Velasquez. She wound up finishing third, a nose back of Herboriste.
It was easily the biggest win of the career for Palmilla, who was nearly three lengths back of Rosinka in the John Rooney, and most recently was third in the June 28 Caught in the Rain Handicap, a restricted turf event at Philadelphia Park. Palmilla’s lone win in nearly two years was in optional claiming company in June of 2007 at Delaware.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Strawbridge, who races his horses under the name Augustin Stable, Palmilla is out of the Allen’s Prospect mare Got a Crush. By winning the $180,000 purse she boosted her career earnings to $310,310.
Rosinka broke from the rail and went straight to the lead under Velasquez. She set aggressive fractions of :25.22, :48.85, 1:12.94, and 1:38.16 for a mile. Herboriste was in stalking the position the entire way. Rosinka still led by two lengths at the top of the lane but ducked in badly which cost her momentum, and was soon to be passed by Palmilla.
The winner returned $42.20, $11.20 and $4.40. The exacta (4-3) returned $156, while the trifecta (4-3-1) netted $251.
Leap in the Sun finished fourth, followed by Royalties and Oh Glory Be.