Alfred Corrado's Kentucky homebred Dynamite Lass rallied gamely through the stretch to wear down 13-10 favorite Olaya for a three-quarters of a length victory in Saturday's $100,00 The Very Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares going 1 7/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the 4-year-old filly Dynamite Lass was somewhat overlooked at 6-to-1 after finishing fourth in the Marshua's River Stakes on the Gulfstream lawn Jan. 14. A daughter of Dynaformer
, Dynamite Lass was posting her first stakes victory and was timed in 2:18 4/5.
"I had a chance on the rail, and I took it," Bejarano said. "My filly just kept trying. She's a really good horse."
Gary Tanaka's German-bred Noble Stella finished a nose behind Olaya in third in the field of 11 fillies and mares.
The winner was reserved off the early pace as the Argentine-bred Potra Clasica got loose on the lead through fractions of :24 2/5, :48 3/5, 1:37 2/5 and 2:01 1/5. Dynamite Lass saved ground for Bejarano through the final turn before angling out for the stretch run and finishing strongly as she swept past Olaya in the final strides. Noble Stella was finishing with interest as well.
Dynamite Lass, earning her first win since a second-level allowance race at Saratoga in August, now has posted a record of 4-4-1 in 13 starts while earning $176,108.
"She finished second so many times, and I'm glad she finally got a graded stakes win," McLaughlin said. "She's a very good filly."
She paid $14.60, $5.20, and $3.20. Olaya, a listed stakes winner in France making her third U.S. start for owner Faisal Salman, returned $3.20 and $2.40. Noble Stella, who was 27-1 when finishing ninth in this race a year ago, paid $2.80 to show as the 3-1 second choice in the field of 10.
The came Potra Clasica, Almost Innocent, Moon Dazzle, Cotopaxi, Mona Rose, Seanachai, and Mama I'm Home. Asti scratched.