Sierra Sweetie Captures California BC Oaks; Garcia Wins 4

Sierra Sweetie earned her fourth career stakes victory and kept her Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) hopes alive by scoring a 1 3/4-length triumph in the $100,000 California Breeders' Cup Oaks at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.

The star apprentice, Martin Garcia, who rode four winners Saturday, was aboard Sierra Sweetie. The Oaks marked the second straight stakes victory for Garcia, who a week earlier notched his first added-money win aboard Somethinaboutlaura in the Foster City Handicap at Bay Meadows.

Sierra Sweetie rallied from fourth in a strong field of eight to take the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies in 1:43.64. She paid $5.80, $3.80, and $3 as the 9-to-5 favorite. Private World ($6.20, $5), ridden by Chance Rollins, took second by a half-length over Bai and Bai ($4.80) and Roberto Gonzalez.

"I feel like I want to cry," said Garcia. "She's beautiful. She wanted to run the whole time. As soon as I took her outside on the second turn, she started to make her move. I stayed after her in the stretch, and she finished for me. I'm just very happy."

Jeff Bonde trains Sierra Sweetie, who is owned in partnership by Peter Branagh, Jeff Shields, and George Schmitt, et al.

"I didn't want to be grouped in the middle of four horses down the backstretch, but this filly overcomes everything," said Bonde. "She comes with her 'A' game every time. She's been rank in the past and not too many riders can make her rate, but the kid (Garcia) has great hands."

Bred in California, Sierra Sweetie is a gray filly by Old Topper  . The ultra-consistent Sierra Sweetie has four wins and three seconds in seven career starts. The Oaks payday of $55,000 boosted her earnings to $290,400.

Bonde said Sierra Sweetie would likely have one more race before the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks, which will be run May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Garcia scored his other victories aboard Adamant ($4) in the second race, My Friend Bert ($7.80) in the sixth race, and Sapore Di Mare ($10.20) in the seventh.

(Chart, Equibase)

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