The little filly Dublino, making her 2003 seasonal debut, unleashed her reliably powerful stretch run to pull away in Sunday's $111,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the turf at Hollywood Park.
Making her first start since a 10th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 26, the 4-year-old daughter of Lear Fan, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, showed no sign of rust. She covered the one-mile Wilshire distance in a stakes record time of 1:33 3/5 and had plenty left at the end. Dublino finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Southern Oasis, ridden by Alex Solis. The 7-5 favorite Final Destination, who hit the rail while in tight quarters on the final turn with Victor Espinoza aboard, was another length back.
Unhurried early, Dubino, carrying 120 pounds, was outside of trouble as a tight field reached the final turn. She exploded by pacesetter Coney Kitty, Southern Oasis and Turtle Bow to take the lead in mid-stretch. One of three fillies in the race trained by Laura de Seroux, she was drawing off at the end.
"She's sure a great talent," said Desormeaux. "She did it very handily. She's going to prove she's the best."
Espinoza said Final Destination, who was seeking her sixth consecutive win for trainer Bobby Frankel, was bumped hard on the final turn by Melody Blue and hit the rail while trying to make a move into contention on the inside.
"I was so lucky to stay on," Espinoza said. "(Melody Blue) almost bumped me to the other side of the fence."
Final Destination fell back to last in the field after the mishap and showed determination by rallying wide to be third.
Coney Kitty set early fractions of :23 for the opening quarter-mile, :46 2/5 for the half and 1:10 1/5 for six furlongs.
Dublino was making her first appearance at Hollywood Park since she was disqualified from victory in a controversial stewards' decision that gave Megahertz the win in the $500,000 American Oaks on July 6. Originally racing in France, that was her first start in the United States. She defeated Megahertz by a nose in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) on Aug. 24, her last stop before the Breeders' Cup.
"Obviously she loves this course," said de Seroux. "She just skips over it." The trainer said Dublino would next go in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at 1 1/8 mile at Hollywood on May 26.
Owned by Michael Klein, Robert Geringer, and Marsha Naify, et al, Dublino earned $66,000 for the victory. She now has three wins and a pair of seconds in six career starts with earnings of $369,994.
From the dam Tuscoga (by Theatrical), Dublino was bred in Kentucky by Arthur Hancock. She was bought for $180,000 as a yearling at Keeneland's September 2000 sale.
The 5-2 second choice as an entry with Little Treasure, Dublino paid $7.80, $4.60 and $2.40. Southern Oasis returned $7 and $3. Final Destination's show price was $2.20. The $2 exacta was $41.80.