Juddmonte Farms’ Costume took advantage from the inside when Alexandra Rose blew the far turn and lasted for the victory in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park Feb. 18.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez for trainer Robert Frankel, Costume was on the pace from the inside in the one-mile turf stakes, with Alexandra Rose to her outside. The leaders fought through fractions of :23.20 for the opening quarter-mile, :46.76 for the half-mile, and 1:10.30 for six furlongs.
Approaching the top of the stretch, Alexandra Rose bore out badly, leaving Costume with the lead. The 4-year-old filly by Danehill out of the Nureyev mare Dance Dress opened up by 2 1/2 lengths in mid-stretch and held off late rallies by favored Black Mamba, Kris’ Sis, and Shermeen, who finished second, third, and fourth, respectively.
Costume won by a neck. Black Mamba had a length on Kris’ Sis, who finished a head in front of Sharmeen.
The final time was 1:34.57. The stewards posted the inquiry because the top four bunched up near the wire, but they let the order of finish stand.
“I didn’t expect her to be on the lead, but that’s where we found ourselves,” Gomez told HRTV after the race. “At the three-eighths pole, I put her in gear and just followed instructions.”
Costume, who paid $11.60 to win in the nine-horse field, was bred in Great Britain by Juddmonte Farms. She raced in England early in her career, then shipped to the United States last summer.
Costume finished a close fourth in the grade I Garden City Handicap on the turf at Belmont Park in her U.S. debut. She then finished fourth in the grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on the grass at Keeneland, and fourth in the grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes on the turf at Churchill Downs.
In her 2008 debut, Costume again finished fourth, this time in the grade II San Gorgonio Handicap on the turf at Santa Anita. She entered the Buena Vista off steady works on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track.