A hot pace failed to deter Wickedly Perfect when she rallied in upper stretch to win the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) Aug. 6 at Del Mar to remain unbeaten in two starts.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano won for the fourth time on the the twilight program at Del Mar while guiding the Doug O'Neill-trained daughter of Congrats to a one-length triumph in the 6 1/2-furlong test for 2-year-old fillies. The final time was 1:17.18 on the Polytrack.
Wickedly Perfect broke with the leaders before dropping into a stalking position in third behind Dawnie Macho, who dueled with 9-5 favorite Final Mesa through swift opening fractions of :21.89 and :44.90. Dawnie Macho was on the lead at the quarter pole but weakened quickly. Wickedly Perfect took charge in the lane after rallying three wide and turned back Final Mesa and She'll Heir mid-stretch. She held on gamely as the closers A Z Warrior and Izshelegal made their late charge.
"She broke well but I didn't want to be up on the lead," Bejarano said. "They were going too fast. I had lots of hold on her; I had to wait. But at the three-eighths (pole) when I saw the favorite go inside, I knew I had to go, too. She got running and stayed strong. She's game."
Racing for Peter Moehrke, JR Ranch, and STD Racing Stable, Wickedly Perfect broke her maiden in her debut for O'Neill at Hollywood Park June 27 impressively by 4 3/4 lengths.
"She's a beautiful filly. We've been a little concerned at times because she's so quiet around the barn," O'Neill said. "She's just a very professional filly, but you never know how they're going to run on the track until they run. Rafael was up pretty close early, and when I saw the fast fractions I figured Rafael must feel like he's really loaded. He knew he had a lot of horse."
Bred in Florida by Y-Lo Racing Stables, the gray/roan filly is out of the Tactical Cat mare Wickedly Wise and was purchased for $70,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s April 2-year-olds in training sale.
"Bob Feld helped me pick her out," said Dennis O'Neill, brother of the trainer. "He liked her and I just fell in love with her. The first time we worked her we were just smitten with her. We're very excited about her."
She earned $90,000 for the Sorrento victory, boosting her total to $114,600.
Zayat Stables' A Z Warrior, an impressive maiden winner in her debut at Hollywood July 15, took second by a head with Martin Garcia aboard. Maiden Izshelegal, second in the Landaluce Stakes in her debut July 11, rallied from last after a half-mile to take the show spot by 1 1/4 lengths with Victor Espinoza riding.
She'll Heir finished fourth, followed Belleofthebridle, Final Mesa, and Dawnie Macho.
Previously undefeated Final Mesa, a New York-bred daughter of Sky Mesa owned and trained by Wesley Ward, was favored after demolishing her rivals by a combined 20 lengths in three previous starts, including stakes wins at Delaware and Woodbine. She carried co-high weight of 123 pounds.
Toting 119 pounds, Wickedly Perfect went off as the fourth choice in the field of seven and paid $13.80, $4.80, and $3.20. A Z Warrior returned $5.40 and $3.80 and completed a $53.40 exacta. Izshelegal paid $3 to show.