Golden Eagle Farm's homebred 2-year-old filly Notable Career set all the fractions en route to a four-length win in the $200,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) Sunday at Santa Anita. Euro Empire finished second, a neck ahead of Cindy's Hero.
In last month's Del Mar Debutante, Cindy's Hero -- a maiden prior to the race -- closed from far back to edge Notable Career by less than a length. In the Oak Leaf, Cindy's Hero again dropped far back off the pace before being forced wide into the stretch after closing well on the second turn. Euro Empire, next-to-last early on, saved ground and moved earlier than Cindy's Hero, surging into second place as the field straightened for home. However, Notable Career, despite fast early fractions, pulled away in the stretch under David Flores to win decisively, completing the one-mile in 1:36.34 on a fast track.
Notable Career (Avenue of Flags--Excellent Lady, by Smarten) is a half-sister of General Challenge and is trained by Bob Baffert. She earned $120,000 for the win, her third in six starts. After winning the Landaluce (gr. III) in July, she finished second in two other stakes races.
Pristine came home fourth, followed by Sea Reel, Midnight Fandango, and Dubai Visit.
Notable Career, the 8-5 second wagering choice, paid $5.20 for the win and led a $1 exacta worth $13.80. (Chart, Equibase