Evita Argentina, the only graded stakes winner in the $111,100 Moccasin for 2-year-old fillies, surged from last on the turn to defeat favored Mi Chiamano Mimi Nov. 16 at smoky Hollywood Park.
The Halo Farms' homebred daughter of Candy Ride swept past most of the field, including the tiring leader Mi Chiamano Mimi, in the homestretch to win the seven-furlong Cushion Track test by 1 1/2 lengths. The final time was a strong 1:21.50.
Evita Argentina, co-owned by Three Sisters Thoroughbreds, was reunited with Tyler Baze for the first time since they teamed to win the Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) over Stardom Bound at Del Mar Aug. 6. Baze and Evita Argentina are now three-for-three together.
"Me and this filly click,” Baze said. “She's a nice filly. Every time I've ridden her, she's given me 100 %. She's straight forward and gives you what she's got. They were going fast and this filly was cool as a cucumber. She's special to me and I really love her. She's just awesome."
Pushed along by Palacio de Amor, Mi Chiamano Mimi set a rapid clip from her inside post-- :22.17 for the opening quarter mile and :44.60 for the half. Under Garrett Gomez, the 13-10 choice took control in the stretch but drifted out leaving the eighth pole to be nailed in the final strides.
Evita Argentina was content to drop back to last in the field of 11 while racing off the rail before commencing her rally rounding the bend. Evita Argentina, overlooked in the odds at 6-1, drove to the lead on the far outside. She won under left-handed urging by Baze.
Mi Chiamano Mimi edged Palacio de Amor, ridden by Victor Espinoza, for second by a neck. Wynning Ride finished fourth.
Trained by John Sadler, Evita Argentina was coming off a ninth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 24. She ran fourth in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) prior to that. Now with three wins in five starts, she has earned $204,900 with the Moccasin winning share of $71,100.
Evita Argentina, who is out of the Forest Wildcatmare Jealous Wildcat, finished 41/2 lengths behind Stardom Bound in the Del Mar Debutante and 91/2 lengths in back of the champion-to-be in the Juvenile Fillies.
“It’s nice to get her back on the right track," Sadler said. "She won the Sorrento and she ran incredibly in the Del Mar Debutante, fourth beaten four. Stardom Bound kind of sucked the air out of all of us so now we’re getting back. We don’t know if she has distance limitations at this point, so we wanted to drop her back around one turn.”
The winner paid $14.80, $5.80, and $3.40.
Mi Chiamano Mimi had won both of her previous starts for trainer Mike Mitchell and clocked a six-furlong time of 1:07 4/5 in winning the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 19. She returned $3.40 and $2.60 while capping a $2 exacta worth $42.60.
"She got out really bad with me,” Gomez said, noting that Mi Chiamano Mimi had done it before. “It's something to do with being a baby, I guess. She was out there by herself and she kind of looks and wants to head to the middle of the racetrack. I spent a lot of time just fighting her trying to keep her somewhere on the playing field.”
Palacio de Amor, like Evita Argentina also shortening up after running last of 13 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, was $3.60 to show.