Matias Cavalieri's Miss Serendipity, a group I winner in Argentina, won her first race in the United States when she nipped Emollient at the finish to win the $300,000 Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park May 26.
Ridden by Brice Blanc for trainer Ron McAnally, Miss Serendipity finished second and third, respectively, behind victorious Stormy Lucy in the Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) and Santa Ana Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her last two starts. The latter finished fourth in the Gamely but was no threat to the winner.
Miss Serendipity, a 6-year-old Argentina-bred mare by Not For Sale out of the Candy Stripes mare Marca Registrada, sat in fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Gamely as Rhagori set the pace, stalked by Emollient in second and Changethechannel in third. The running order remained that way through an opening quarter-mile in :23.94, a half-mile in :47.31, and six furlongs in 1:10.75 on a course rated firm.
Emollient and jockey Rosie Napravnik took over after one mile in 1:34.20 and opened about a one-length lead as Miss Serendipity rallied from fourth to second on the outside. Emollient, a two-time grade I winner, fought off the challenge gamely but fell a nose short at the wire in 1:46.22 for the distance. Favored Parranda, winner of the grade III Wilshire Stakes on the grass in her last start, rallied for third, 2 1/4 lengths behind second choice Emollient.
Blanc was pleased with his trip in the Gamely.
"I tracked Emollient our last time out and my mare backed up on me, so I tracked her this time as well, but I was able to ease up today," Blanc said. "My mare has been improving with each race. She just needed to get acclimated.
"She was aggressive her first few races and they wanted to try and change that style. It took us a little while to work on her but now she's acclimating. I watched her replays before I ever rode her, and she has always impressed me."
Miss Serendipity, a 13-1 shot in a nine-horse field, paid $29.80, $10, and $6.20 across the board. Emollient returned $5.20 and $3.60, while Parranda paid $3.20. The $1 exacta paid $81.50 and the $1 trifecta paid $292.10.
"They keep improving, the South Americans," McAnally said after the race. "Sometimes they get on it right away, but even Bayakoa, her first race or two, she got beat, then she won a little stakes at Del Mar by 10 lengths. Other ones, they come around right away. This mare took a little while, but she finally came around.
"She runs on anything–dirt, grass, soft and firm. I've liked her since we got her last summer at Del Mar. She's got a good disposition and everything about her was good, and she finally put it all together."
Miss Serendipity, who now has six wins in 24 starts, was bred by the owner. The mare last year won the Estrellas Distaff (Arg-I) on the grass at 1 1/4 miles at San Isidro.