Sweet Fourty, the 7-10 favorite in Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, had to battle through the stretch before scoring a half-length victory under Victor Espinoza.
The winner bid three wide in the stretch to engage the pace pusher Princess Patricia and Well Hidden and gradually gained control inside the sixteenth pole. Well Hidden, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, finished second, while Princess Patricia and Jaime Ricardo gave way late to finish third, 3 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile event was 1:43 3/5.
Jeff Mullins trains Sweet Fourty, who is owned by Michael House, as well as Princess Patricia. The winner, a Florida-bred daughter of Sweetsouthernsaint
notched $150,000 for her first stakes victory. She owns a 3-1-0 record in seven career starts with earnings of $209,000.
Legally Wild, pressed by Princess Patricia early, set fractions of :22 4/5 and :47 1/5 before the latter took over, completing six furlongs in 1:12. Sweet Fourty was well placed in third early before pouncing in the stretch.
She paid $3.40, $2.20 and $2.10. Well Hidden returned $2.80 and $2.20. Princess Patricia was $2.60 to show.
Starzaflame finished fourth, with Legally Wild and Visual Effect trailing.