A fast pace worked perfectly for Doinghardtimeagain, who swept past the leaders to register a 2 1/4-length victory in the inaugural running of the $196,000 Soviet Problem Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park Dec. 9 (VIDEO).
The 2-year-old Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred filly was ridden to victory by Martin Garcia at odds of 6-1 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The seven-furlong Soviet Problem is part of the Golden State Series, a series of stakes for California-breds started earlier this year as a breeding incentive.
Hollendorfer and Garcia combined to take the $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (gr. II) with Lady of Fifty a day earlier at Hollywood Park.
Doinghardtimeagain was timed in 1:23.93 over the Cushion Track as she recorded her second win in a row after a pair of seconds to begin her career. The compact dark bay or brown filly is by Ministers Wild Cat out of the winning mare Silver Hawk Lady, by Conquistador Cielo.
The unbeaten Home Journey, the 7-10 favorite looking for her third consecutive win in the field of seven, rocketed to the front at the start and led Unusual Way by better than a length early while posting a blazing opening quarter mile of :21.98. She continued to lead while completing the half in :45.57. But she had nothing left when tackled by Unusual Way at the quarter pole.
Doinghardtimeagain, about six lengths back in fourth down the backstretch, was angled four paths wide rounding the turn as she made her bid. Despite being widest, she gradually wore down Unusual Way, who was hanging tough on the inside, to get the advantage mid-stretch. Doinghardtimeagain edged clear in the final furlong under right-handed urging from Garcia.
"The race came up exactly how I thought it would,'' said Garcia. "There were a few speed horses and I wanted to lay on the outside where she could be really comfortable.
"I just let her pick it up on her own. The only thing I didn't want to do was move too soon. When I asked her, she just left everybody.''
Unusual Way, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was 4 1/4 lengths clear of 69-1 shot Awe Golly Molly and Juan Hernandez. Tilde finished fourth as Home Journey dropped back and was not persevered with by jockey Aaron Gryder in the stretch while finishing last.
"She seems to be OK,'' Gryder said. "I don't know what it was—maybe they'll see something at the barn (of trainer Mike Puype). It's just not like her. She's been training unbelievable. She cleared and was relaxed.
"She's the kind of filly that when you get near her she wants to put her head in front, but there was no resistance today.''
Hollendorfer indicated Doinghardtimeagain will stretch to one mile in the filly division of the $300,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes Jan. 26 at Santa Anita Park.
Doinghardtimeagain debuted Aug. 26 on the Del Mar Polytrack, finishing second in a six-furlong maiden special weight event against Cal-bred fillies while beaten a half-length. Hollendorfer gave her a bit of time before her next start in the 1 1/16-mile Keith E. Card Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Oct. 13, and Doinghardtimeagain responded with another game effort, though beaten late by Tilde by a half-length. In her debut at Hollywood Park Nov. 9, she was on the right end of a half-length decision as a 3-5 favorite against state-bred maidens while cutting back to 6 1/2 furlongs.
She earned $110,000 for the victory and has now banked $198,500.
Doinghardtimeagain paid $15.80, $6.20, and $5. Unusual Way, coming off a sharp victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint Preview at Santa Anita Nov. 3 for trainer Jeff Bonde, returned $4 and $3. The $2 exacta was worth $64.80. Awe Golly Molly paid $12.60 to show.
Tilde, a three-time stakes winner from the Mike Harrington barn, was followed by Sacred Delight, Akiss Forarose, and Home Journey.
Tribal Custom scratched.