Ridden with confidence by jockey Victor Espinoza, Bajan, the 4-5 favorite, responded with a decisive victory in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes Nov. 9 at Betfair Hollywood Park (VIDEO).
Content to trail early in the field of five 2-year-old fillies while saving ground, Espinoza angled the daughter of Speightstown outside pacesetter Sergeant O'Rourke and Lemon de Oro for the stretch run and she asserted her superiority in the final eighth of a mile.
Trained by Simon Callaghan for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Ronald Frankel, Bajan completed the seven furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:24.26 after fractions of :22.78, :46.30, and 1:11.42.
The victory by 2 1/4 lengths was the third in five starts—and second in a row in a stakes—by the bay filly bred in Kentucky by Farfellow Farms out of the Aptitude mare Critikal Reason.
"It went to plan,'' said Callaghan. "We took back and the good thing about her is she is so rateable and so sensible. She just sits back and travels and has that turn of foot.
"I think we'll definitely consider the Starlet (gr. I) now. She galloped out strong and we're picking up the distance steadily. She's shown she is a really good filly.''
Winner of the Anoakia Oct. 13 at Santa Anita Park, Bajan paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10 for the Moccasin score. She's earned $159,150.
The $500,000 Hollywood Starlet Dec. 7 will be contested at 1 1/16 miles, which would be Bajan's first start around two turns. She'd run seven furlongs once before Saturday, finishing sixth in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) Aug. 31.
"She's going in the right direction,'' said Espinoza. "She's very easy to ride and when I ask her to go she's quick, really fast. It's nice to ride horses like that."
Making her first start since being claimed for $50,000 by Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O'Neill out of a 10 1/4-length win in her debut Oct. 10, For Emma rallied for the place, finishing 4 1/4 lengths in front of 3-1 second choice Lemon de Oro, making her first start in California for trainer Graham Motion after defeating maidens Oct. 19 at Keeneland.
For Emma paid $3.80 and $2.80 while the show price Lemon de Oro was $3.
Completing the order of finish were Sergeant O'Rourke and E Equalsmcsquared. Perched was scratched.