Missit Wins U.S. Debut in Providencia

Missit Wins U.S. Debut in Providencia
Photo: Benoit Photo
Missit (outside) gets her nose in front of Sweeter Still at the wire to take the Providencia.
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Making her first United States start for trainer Ben Cecil, Missit needed the entire length of the stretch to collar Sweeter Still for a nose victory in the $150,000 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies on the Santa Anita grass course April 5.

Ridden to victory by Victor Espinoza, the Irish-bred Missit was the slight 5-2 choice in the field of nine going one mile. Now owned by Three Chimneys Racing, the bay daughter of Orpen won once in five tries last year in Great Britain, where she was trained by Michael Channon. She came within a neck of winning a seven-furlong group II event at Newmarket last fall.

Missit, rank early, chased the pace from third for most of the journey, coming out in the stretch and rallying gamely to nip Sweeter Still, another Irish-bred filly, in the final strides. Sweeter Still had inched away to a half-length advantage in mid-stretch after getting the lead from the pacesetting Briecat, who set sensible fractions of :23.23,  :47.37, and 1:11.62 before giving way in the lane.

“I’ve been working her and I knew she was a nice filly, but I also knew she wasn’t 100 percent ready today," Espinoza said. "I didn’t want her to run out of gas. At the three-eighths pole I was confident, but at the sixteenth, I wasn’t so sure. She’s got a lot of class and she’s all runner."

The winning time was 1:34.91 on a firm course. Missit's second victory in six tries was worth $90,000, pushing her career earnings to $148,925.

“The turf course has been playing to speed, so I told Victor to get out running a little bit," Cecil said. "He probably got a little too aggressive early on. I think she’s a pretty nice filly. I’m not saying she ran bad today, but I think she’s better than she ran today, and there’s room for improvement.”

“I’d have liked to have seen her win a bit easier, but I think for the first time here, she had some circumstances against her. She got a bit keen early, but if you’re not in the first three or four on the turf here, you’ve got no shot. We changed tactics a little bit.”

The winner carried 115 pounds, four fewer than the runner-up, and paid $7.60, $4.80, and $3.20. The Jeff Mullins-trained Sweeter Still, winner of the China Doll Stakes March 1 at the Providencia distance, returned $5.20 and $3.60. It was 1 1/4 lengths to the third-place finisher Bel Air Sizzle ($3.60), ridden by Chantal Sutherland. They nosed second choice Gorgeous Goose for the show spot.

Carnival Queen, Theodora, Briecat, Starry Pursuit, and Porto Marmay completed the order.

Churchtown House Stud bred Missit, who is out of High Spot, by Shirley Heights.

(Chart, Equibase)

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