Team Valor International’s Alexandra Rose, under a patient ride by Rafael Bejarano, swept past foes in the stretch to win the Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Santa Anita Park Jan. 1.
Trained by Neil Drysdale, Alexandra Rose, a 6-year-old South African-bred mare by Caesour out of the Darshaan mare Alexandra Bi, sat off a typical early pace of :21.94 for the first quarter-mile and :43.72 for a half-mile on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course. The leader was longshot Ms. Wonder Woman, who was being tracked by fellow longshot Shriek.
As the leaders came back to the rest of the field, Bejarano steered Alexandra Rose to the outside as they turned for home, and the mare gobbled up ground. Society Hostess got the jump on Alexandra Rose in the stretch, but it wasn’t enough.
Alexandra Rose raced past to post a three-quarter-length win and finished up in 1:12.86 on a firm course. Society Hostess was a clear second when she crossed the wire, but after a stewards' inquiry, the mare was disqualified and placed fifth for interference in the stretch. Society Hostess appeared to drift out in the lane.
The official order of finish after Alexandra Rose was Good Mood (third placed second), favored Audacious Chloe (fourth placed third), and second choice Strong Faith (fifth placed fourth).
“This was the first time I’ve been on her,” Bejarano said after the race. “I didn’t want to use her speed too early, so I was able to follow the speed. When we passed the quarter pole, she was handling the course real well, and she tried real hard. She tried to get out with me just a little bit, but she’s a very good horse.”
“(Bejarano) gave her a lovely ride and did exactly what we said — just come with a nice, late run on the outside, and that’s what happened,” Drysdale said.
Drysdale said Alexandra Rose’s next race hasn’t been decided.
Alexandra Rose competed in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year and was shipped to the United States, where she made her first appearance in the CashCall Mile (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park in early July. She finished seventh in that event, and then returned to finish fifth in a Del Mar allowance test on the grass in August.
Alexandra Rose got a break after that, and prepped for the Monrovia with consistent turf works at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita.
Alexandra Rose, who now has five wins in 13 career starts, paid $15 to win as the fourth choice in the field and capped a $2 exacta worth $122.80 and a $2 trifecta worth $512.80. Victory Spy and Macadamia were scratched from the Monrovia.