Outsider Hot Storm, ridden by Jerry Bailey, overcame a wide trip to hold off She's a Jewel by a head in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita Park Saturday, kicking off the eight-race series for California and Florida breds.
The Florida-bred 3-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic
was shipped west by trainer Dallas Stewart off a solid second-place effort in a stakes race at Fair Grounds. Overlooked at odds of 21-1, she paid $44.40, $15.40 and $7.20.
Stuck on the extreme outside in the field of 12, the quick filly pressured the pacesetters into the turn while racing on the outside, edged to the lead in mid-stretch and finished under steady handling by Bailey. She's a Jewel closed gamely with Memorette also coming on strongly for third, about a half-length behind. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:09. Kohar finished fourth.
"She was out there wide and kind of even drifting through the stretch," Bailey said. "It didn't concern me all that much because warming up I noticed that the first four or five paths were wetter, I didn't know if it was necessarily deeper, but I knew it was wetter."
Douglas said it was a "nearly impossible task" to make up ground on a track softened up by heavy rains Friday.
"Mother Nature just wasn't on our side today," he said.
Pacesetters Eleventh Street, 5-2 favorite Brooke's Halo, and Coastal Strike vied for the lead through torrid fractions of :21 1/5, :43 3/5 and :56, all giving way to the late runners after Hot Storm grabbed control.
She's a Jewel returned $8.40 and $5.40 while completing a $439.40 exacta. Memorette ($3.20) rounded out a $1,394.90 trifecta for a $1 wager.
Owned by co-breeder Robert A. Adams of Cincinnati, Hot Storm earned $137,500 for her first stakes victory. Overall, she has a record of 3-1-0 in seven lifetime starts with earnings of $193,350. Hot Storm was produced by the Secret Slew mare Forgotten Secret.
After Kohar came (in order) Hello Lucky, Coastal Strike, Short Route, Kash Klip, Eleventh Street, Brooke's Halo, Running Bobcats, and Yodeladytoo.