Pasar Silbano, making her second American start for trainer James Cassidy, took control coming down the hillside turf course and drew off in the homestretch to win the $100,000 La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Santa Anita Feb. 1.
Ridden by Mike Smith, the Irish-bred posted a mild upset while defeating 77-1 shot Gold Goddess by 1 3/4 lengths in the about 6 1/2-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies. The final time was a solid 1:12.67 on firm ground.
Pasar Silbano, a winner of four of six starts in her native country, was a disappointment in her U.S. debut, finishing seventh in the Moccasin Stakes on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track last November.
Sent from the rail in the La Habra by Smith, Pasar Silbano pressed Real Fancy Runner through a sizzling opening quarter mile of :21.77 before gaining a clear advantage coming down the hill. The half-mile split was :43.54, but Pasar Silbano had plenty left for the stretch run. Gold Goddess, ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., rallied to get second by a neck over Real Fancy Runner and Joe Talamo. Miss Silver Brook, the slight 5-2 favorite in the field of 11, finished fourth, just a nose out of the show spot.
"She had just got here from Ireland and she didn’t have time to acclimate," Smith said of Pasar Silbano's U.S. debut. "She broke flat-footed and she just seemed lost out there.
"I’ve been getting on her since, and coming into this race, she’s been breezing dynamite. She’s really quick, and today I was trying to slow her down coming down the hill. She jumped the dirt a little funny, but I had her under control after that. She ran great.”
The victory was worth $60,000 for owner Lincoln Collins' Three Chimneys Racing, boosting Pasar Silbano's career earnings to $251,804 with a record of 5-0-1 in eight starts. Pasar Silbano was both a listed and restricted stakes winner at Ireland's Curragh in her final two starts before coming to the U.S..
“Lincoln Collins bought her and sent her to me, so I can’t take credit for this one," said Cassidy, who buys many of the horses he brings over from the British Isles. "I liked her right from the start. She was very straightforward, not a problem, and her works had been over the top."
Cassidy blamed Pasar Silbano's poor debut effort on a bad break.
"I told (Smith) she’d break better today, and she still broke a tad slow, but I think it was because she was in there (the gate) so long, being in the one hole. But when he (Smith) went by those horses after the first quarter, I was kind of shocked. I thought maybe we were using up a little too much too early, but obviously, that wasn’t the case. She’s a very, very nice filly, and she’s still trying to figure things out.”
By Elnadim out of Give A Whistle, by Mujadil, Pasar Silbano was bred by Denis J. Reddan. She previously raced for trainer Gerard Lyons.
She carried co-top weight of 122 pounds and paid $11.20, $6.80 and $4.40. Gold Goddess, overlooked in the wagering after a couple of bland stakes efforts for trainer Walther Solis, returned $51.20 and $19.40, accounting for a $2 exacta worth $549.40. Real Fancy Runner, trying graded company for the first time in her career, was $9.40 to show.
Miss Silver Brook was favored off a debut maiden win from off the pace on the synthetic main track. She was followed by Acting Lady, Emmy Darling, Jemmealey, Broadway Hennessey, Ready Steady Gone, False Impression and Doughnut. Shantika's Dream scratched.