Rare Charmer, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr. at 115 pounds, prevailed narrowly over Elegant Ridge in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares Monday at Santa Anita Park.
Rare Charmer ran one mile on a firm turf course in 1:36.67 and paid $27.40, $12 and $4.40. Rare Charmer is a 6-year-old California-bred by Slewpy and is trained by Craig Dollase for owner/breeder Nick Cafarchia.
The winner out finished Elegant Ridge in a stiff stretch duel; the official winning margin was a half-length Elegant Ridge, Kent Desormeaux riding at 117 pounds, finished second and returned $13.30 and $4.80. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Uncharted Haven, Alex Solis aboard at 116 pounds, and a $2.40 show payoff. Brianda, Lady At Peace, No Matter What, Matiere Grise, Follow The Money, Strawberry Way, Dancingonice and Sicy Du Barail completed the order of finish. Uncharted Haven and Dancingonice raced coupled in the wagering and were favored at odds of 4-to-5. Speaking of Time, Miss Of Wales and Out Of Reach were scratched.The grade II Buena Vista was the first stakes victory for Rare Charmer; the chestnut mare has an overall mark of 7-5-4 in 21 starts. The $90,000 winner's share increased her earnings to $432,216.
Rare Charmer settled into sixth place early, as Strawberry Way and Lady At Peace vied for the lead through fractions of :23.18, :47.24 and 1:11.24. The winner rallied three-wide on the last turn, forged to the lead in mid-stretch and then held off Elegant Ridge in the race to the wire."She's a nice mare, tries hard all the time," Pincay said. "Coming down the stretch, I knew she was going to be tough because I thought I had a lot of horse. When Elegant Ridge came strong at the end, I thought she was going to go by me, but my mare responded."Pincay rode two winners on the 10-race card and finished the week with a 43-33 lead over Victor Espinoza in the jockeysí standings.(More, Equibase)