Edmund A. Gann's You relaxed off the early pace, then kicked in gear in the stretch to win the one-mile, $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) by a length over Habibti on Sunday at Santa Anita. Under Jerry Bailey, You covered the distance in 1:36.84 on a fast track to notch her second career grade I victory.
"She was forced wide around the first turn, and I had the option to tuck in or leave her where she was," explained Bailey. "Being that the race was only a flat mile I decided not to take her back any further. Her wins had been stalking and I didn't want to take that kind of game away from her today. She responded well in the stretch, and it was a good win for her."
Habibti closed from last in the field of six to challenge You in the final stages, but the Bobby Frankel trainee had enough energy in reserve to thwart the challenge.
"When she (Habibti) came out of the gate, she kind of bobbled from behind," said her rider, Victor Espinoza. "She was OK, but it took her quite a few strides just to get going. I just left her alone, and let her do whatever she wanted to. I saved as much ground as I could, and she was really coming on at the end. She really ran a great race, and finished very well. I'm sure this will help her for the next one."
Tali'sluckybusride finished third after dueling for the early lead with fourth-place finisher Repectful. Maiden winner Spring Meadow finished fifth, six lengths ahead of Bella Bella Bella.
You, who made her 3-year-old debut Sunday, won the Adirondack (gr. II) and Frizette (gr. I) Stakes as a juvenile, before finishing off the board in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) to complete her campaign. The daughter of You and I earned $120,000 for the win, her fourth in seven starts.
You is out of the Homebuilder mare Our Dani and was bred in Kentucky by Dolphus C. Morrison.
For Bailey, the win brought an end to a frustrating string of weekend trips to Santa Anita.
"Well, I finally won one out here," Bailey said. "I know the last three weeks I had ridden favorites, and I was kind of surprised to look out at the board and see she was favored."
Sent off at 6-5, You returned $4.40, $2.60, and $2.40. Habibti paid $2.60 and $2.40. Tali'sluckybusride paid $3.60. The $1 exacta returned $4.80. (Chart, Equibase