Tates Creek and rider Jerry Bailey wore down even-money favorite Voodoo Dancer and Corey Nakatani in the final strides of Sunday's $200,000 Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT), registering a thrilling neck victory in the concluding stakes race of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.
"It didn't look like she was going to get there at the eighth pole," said Bailey afterward. "But she just kept trying."
After putting away comebacker Tout Charmant and Crazy Ensign in the stretch, Voodoo Dancer had a clear lead over Tates Creek, who was angled to the outside for the drive and dug in, eventually getting to Voodoo Dancer's inside and edging past near the wire. The winning time for the 1 1/8 mile on grass was 1:47.69.
It was a similar finish to one some 3,000 miles away at Saratoga's Diana Handicap (Gr. IIT) on July 27, when the Bobby Frankel-trained Tates Creek finished just a nose in front of Voodoo Dancer, again outrunning her on the inside.
"I don't think that (Voodoo's Dancer) flattened out so much as (Tates Creek) came and got her," said Frankel. "She did the same thing with (Voodoo Dancer) at Saratoga."
"The other filly moved kind of quick and I really was kind of stuck, so I didn't go with her," said Bailey. "I just thought if my filly had the same kind of kick going a mile-and-an-eighth that she had going a mile, I might be able to run (Voodoo Dancer) down.
"But to be honest, when she opened up again turning for home, and my filly was really digging in hard, I was a little concerned. But this filly, she never gives up. Even though you think she might be in trouble at some point, she just keeps trying."
The 4-year-old Tates Creek, owned and bred in Kentucky by Juddmonte Farms Inc., is by Rahy out of Viviana (Nureyev), won for the fifth time in eight races this year. She has won four of her past five and was coming off of a one-length win in the Noble Damsel (Gr. III) Sept. 21 at Belmont. Overall, Tates Creek has eight wins in 12 starts. The $120,000 winning purse improved her career bankroll to more than $767,000.
Sent off at 9-5 in the field of eight, Tates Creek paid $5.80, $3 and $2.40. Voodoo Dancer returned $2.60 and $2.10. Magic Mission, several lengths back in third, paid $3.40.
Laffit Pincay Jr. won his third consecutive riding title with 27 victories at the Oak Tree meet, while Jack Carava saddled 14 winners to earn the training title.