Dennis Weir’s Arizona homebred Carlsbad broke sharply and never looked back, taking seven 3-year-old filly rivals wire-to-wire to win by a half-length in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) (VIDEO) June 7 on the Cushion Track surface.
The talented daughter of Rocky Bar has now won six of seven races in her career and notched her second graded stakes this season. The dark bay is trained by Jeff Mullins.
Under the handling of Tyler Baze, Carlsbad broke from post three while carrying top weight of 119 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile contest. Though she was on the lead, Carlsbad went very comfortable on the front end, getting the opening-quarter in a manageable :24.26 while Kays and Jays and Lady Lumberjack stalked the pace. Will O Way was also close up in the early going.
Carlsbad continued to lead after a half-mile in :47.86 and three-quarters in 1:11.68. She turned for home maintaining a comfortable advantage and hit the top of the stretch ahead by two lengths. Lady Lumberjack, with Garrett Gomez in the irons, was the only filly with a legitimate chance in the final furlong and the Julio Canani trainee methodically gained ground on the longtime leader. But she eventually ran out of room.
The final time was 1:42.59. Lady Lumberjack was two lengths better than third-place Third Dawn, who closed from off the pace under Rafael Bejarano.
"She's proved everything to everybody now,” said Baze. "Last time we got into a wicked pace duel, had pressure all the way, and got beat by an undefeated filly. This filly's special — it's any distance with her. She's just a real special, talented filly and it's nice to be aboard her. I didn't think we could get away with going as slow as we did early. I knew at the half-mile pole, somebody was going to really have to run to catch her."
Sent off as the 2-1 choice, the winner paid $6.20, $3.60 and $2.80. The $1 exacta (3-2) returned $19.10 and the $1 trifecta (3-2-7) was $61.
Carlsbad, out of the Pine Bluff mare Kits Peak, has been dominant from the first time she hit the track. She broke her maiden by 4 1/4 lengths last October at Turf Paradise while being trained by Kevin Lewis, then rolled by more than 14 lengths in the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity, 19 in the Arizona Juvenile Filly, and 13 1/4 in the Arizona Oaks to open her sophomore season.
Weir sent Carlsbad to California to be with Mullins for the March 29 Santa Paula (gr. III), where she won in front-running fashion by 3 1/4 lengths on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride. Her lone defeat came last out in the seven-furlong Railbird (gr. III) when she finished runner-up to Witty after leading into the stretch at Hollywood. This was her first start beyond a mile.
“We were lucky nobody got crazy and tried to go with us because it could have been a detriment," Mullins said. “She’s really gutty. Tyler and I talked before and he said, ‘If they leave me alone I’ll be fine, but as soon as she feels the pressure she’s going to go.’ It was a good thing that they laid off of us as long as they did and he was able to slow her down. He did a really good job. I think she’ll do anything. She’ll run over broken glass, this horse.”
Carlsbad banked $90,000 while improving her record to six wins in seven starts. She has now earned $264,126.