Finishing with a flourish, lightly regarded Quiet Oasis produced a 15-1 upset in the $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) when she swept past pacesetter Briecat in the closing strides for a half-length victory at Betfair Hollywood Park April 29.
Mario Gutierrez drove the Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream to victory for owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Ben Cecil. Gutierrez is also the jockey for Reddam's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner I'll Have Another in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Quiet Oasis, who began her career as a sprinter in Great Britain, earned her first stakes victory and accomplished it off a five-month layoff. In her most recent start, the Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) at one mile on the Hollywood turf Nov. 25, she finished sixth at odds of 28-1.
"We weren't sure she would get the mile. Ben was especially worried about that," Reddam admitted on TVG after the race. "The win was good for Ben. He's been a little cold."
Breeding Capital PLC and Swettenham Stud bred Quiet Oasis. She is out of the Sunday Silence mare Silent Heir.
Briecat, who dictated the pace throughout with Joe Talamo aboard, held on for second in a dead-heat with Northern California shipper Antares World and Kevin Krigger. Grade I winner Nereid, the 13-10 favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares, ran on late to finish fourth. She was one length behind the winner.
The winning time was a solid 1:34.63 over firm going.
Briecat, leaving from the rail, broke best along with Quiet Oasis but Gutierrez conceded the lead, taking Quiet Oasis in hand in third on the outside on the clubhouse turn as Antares World took up the chase from between horses. Briecat opened up by a couple of lengths early and maintained a comfortable advantage over Antares World and Quiet Oasis while unfurling fractions of :23.61, :47.63, and 1:11.02. Briecat cut the corner brilliantly leaving the far turn and found herself three lengths in front approaching mid-stretch.
But the veteran campaigner weakened in the final furlong as Quiet Oasis unwound her charge from the center of the course. Quiet Oasis reached the front yards from the wire under urging from Gutierrez.
Antares World also finished with interest from between horses at 46-1 odds. She got a share of the runner-up purse with 4-1 shot Briecat, a grade II winner over the Hollywood turf in October 2010.
Nereid, who won the 10-furlong American Oaks (gr. It) at Hollywood in a memorable dead-heat with Cambina last summer, will appreciate some added distance when she makes her next start. She was top-weighted in the Wilshire field with 121 pounds.
John Shirreffs, who trains Nereid for owner Eric Kronfeld, was encouraged by her first start in more than six months. Nereid’s most recent race was a third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (gr. IT) Oct. 15 at Keeneland.
“She ran really well,’’ he said. “I thought it was a very nice race first time back. We’ll move on from here.’’
Quiet Oasis began her United States career in November 2010 when she ran seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT) for then-trainer Brian Meehan. Since transferring to Cecil's barn, the bay filly has had two wins and a second in four starts, all in Southern California. The Wilshire victory nearly doubled her career earnings to $122,379 and gave Cecil his second victory in 2012.
Cecil won the Wilshire for the third time. The trainer credited Reddam with the decision to run.
“I told him we should run in the 6 1/2-furlong allowance (the seventh race May 4) because I thought first time off the layoff she’d be a little keen.
“I let him make the call and he made the right one to run here. He gets all the credit. We’ve always thought a lot of her. We’re hoping next time she’ll settle even more. How far she’ll go is a question mark.’’
The winner carried 114 pounds and paid $33.20, $12.60, and $6.40 as the third longest shot on the board. Seven-year-old Briecat, who came up just short in her quest for an 11th lifetime victory, returned $4 and $4.60. Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams' homebred Antares World paid $19 and $12 for trainer Steve Specht. The exacta of Quiet Oasis with Briecat was $86.80. With Antares World, it was worth $307.60.
Nereid was followed by Wild Mia, Go Forth North, Up In Time, and Imperialistic Diva.