Closing with determination for jockey Rafael Bejarano, the multiple graded stakes winner Foxysox ground past favored Gotta Have Her in the final strides to win the $100,000 Tuzla Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a half-length on good going over Santa Anita's turf course Jan. 25.
Trained by Carla Gaines for owner Warren B. Williamson, the British-bred 6-year-old mare collected her sixth stakes victory while winning for the fifth time in nine lifetime starts on the Santa Anita lawn.
Any one of a half-dozen in the one-mile test for older fillies and mares had a shot in the final furlong. Gotta Have Her, the 2-1 choice in a field reduced to 10 by four scratches, took the lead for Richard Migliore from the pacesetting Charming Legacy mid-stretch and was closing in on the wire. But she could not quite hold off Foxysox, who was in a drive under left-handing urging from Bejarano down the center of the course. Foxysox rallied past four rivals in that final eighth to get the victory.
A length back, Charming Legacy, ridden by Tyler Baze, held on for third by a nose over Storybook. The final time was 1:36.64 on a course slowed by recent rains.
The off going was a concern, Gaines said.
Gaines said, “I had considered scratching her because of the soft grass. I don’t recall ever running her on anything like this, so I kept vacillating as to what to do. We finally went out and walked the course and then decided to go ahead and let her run.”
This was just the second race in nearly six months for Foxysox, who showed some rust when she was unable to overcome traffic trouble and wound up sixth after being out-finished in a Jan. 1 allowance race won by Charming Legacy. That was the only time the daughter of Foxhound has been beaten in six tries at the one-mile distance.
“I had a perfect trip,” Bejarano said afterward. “I was able to follow the favorite, and I was very confident in my filly even though this was her first time on a wet turf. She finished great, and I have to say it really seemed like she loved it out there.”
Charming Legacy, breaking from the far outside post, was pushed along by You Lift Me Up and Gotta Have Her. The 6-year-old mare, making her stakes debut, was in control while posting even quarter-mile fractions of :24.02, :48.10 and and 1:12.12 and continued to show the way down the lane, giving way stubbornly under gradual pressure from Gotta Have Her.
Foxysox improved her career mark to 7-2-4 in 24 starts with earnings of $681,118 for Williamson, who recently was released from the hospital with an undisclosed ailment, according to Gaines. The chestnut mare earned her first victory since taking the 1 1/4-mile Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita lawn last April, a race the game competitor won by a nose over Black Mamba. The Tuzla win was worth $60,000.
Gaines said she would consider the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles on turf on March 22 for Foxysox’s next race. The versatile Foxysox also has a grade II win on a synthetic track, winning the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park more than two years ago.
Bred by Mr. and Mrs. B.J. Crangle, the winner is out of the Royal Academy mare Triple Tricks.
Foxysox carried 117 pounds and paid $11.20, $5.20 and $4 as the third choice. The Jenine Sahadi trainee Gotta Have Her, coming off a strong second-place effort behind Vacare in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park Dec. 21, returned $3.80 and $3 while completing a $2 exacta worth $40.40. Charming Legacy, conditioned by Ron McAnally, was $5.40 to show.
Storybook was followed by Trouble Maker, You Lift Me Up, Kyniska, Sprung, I Can See and second-choice Santa Teresita. Scratched were Dawn After Dawn, Gambler's Justice, Bahama Mama and Magical Fantasy.