French-bred Little Treasure made her United States debut a winning one, taking the San Clemente Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Del Mar in stakes-record time.
The Laura De Seroux-trained Little Treasure went one mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in 1:33 4/5, shaving a full second off the stakes record first set by Flawlessly in 1991.
Never far off the early pace of :23 and 46 4/5 set by Super High, Little Treasure and jockey Kent Desormeaux kicked clear in the stretch and withstood a late rally from the rail by Pina Colada to win by a nose. Arabic Song also closed strongly to finish third.
"I told Kent she's not a typical French filly," De Seroux related. "Don't grab her and cover her up because you give up some lengths doing that, and I know that she doesn't have to be covered up. She relaxes and she finishes, so I told Kent that if she comes away from there running, don't worry about being close."
"I put her in the race and the pace was kind to us," said Desormeaux. "Then when she changed leads she barreled for the wire."
Mike Smith, aboard Pina Colada, was enthusiastic afterward. "They came home in :11! They were smokin'. My filly ran very, very well. When I was coming through on the fence (in the stretch) I knew I was gaining but I didn't think I'd get there. Then she
really started flying at the finish and for a second I thought I was going to get there. But they were really running fast. She ran an excellent race."
A daughter of Night Shift, Little Treasure was bred in France and is owned in partnership by Port Trust, Liberty Road Stable and San Gabriel Investments.
She has raced in France, where she won her last two races, the most recent coming May 21 at Chantilly in a listed race. She is five-for-eight in her career, and Saturday's $90,000 winning purse was more than double the $43,209 she had won previously.
The 5-2 favorite in the field of nine, Little Treasure paid $7.20, $4.60 and $3.40. Pina Colada returned $20.60 and $7.60. The show horse, Arabic Song, paid $4. The $2 exacta was $163.00.
Warren's Whistle won Saturday's companion feature at Del Mar, the $70,000 Fantastic Girl.