Returning from a layoff of a bit more than two months, 8-1 shot Sarach led throughout to win the $150,750 Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on turf June 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park (VIDEO).
Teaming for the first time with jockey Martin Garcia, the 3-year-old daughter of Arch and the Atticus mare Eximius made the lead without having to be urged. Relaxed through moderate fractions with Macha in close pursuit, she kicked clear with less than an eighth of a mile to run and held sway by one length over late-running 4-5 choice Scarlet Strike.
Owned by breeders Gerard and Alain Wertheimer and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella, Sarach earned her first stakes victory. She paid $18, $5.80, and $3.60, completing the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.73. The win was her third in eight starts and boosted her earnings to $168,742.
The win was the second in the Honeymoon for Mandella, who also won the 1993 renewal with Likeable Style. Mandella wasn't at Hollywood Park to see Sarach's victory as he was at the wedding of Alex Solis Jr., the son of the jockey.
"The main thing was to break sharp,'' Garcia said after his first Honeymoon victory. "Every time she runs, she likes to be right there. Nobody went to the lead today and it was really comfortable for her to take it. She showed what she can do.
"If they would have gone faster, she would have been right there, but like I said there was no pace and I just took advantage from there.''
Victimized by a wide trip when second at 3-5 in the Senorita Stakes May 11, Scarlet Strike, who trailed for most of the trip, finished as best she could behind pedestrian splits (:24.09, :48.28, and 1:12.64). The Smart Strike filly won the Providencia Stakes (gr. IIT) at the same distance at Santa Anita Park April 6, when Sarach finished fifth in her graded-stakes debut.
Jerry Hollendorfer saddled both Scarlet Strike and third-place finisher Macha. Scarlet Strike returned $2.60 and $2.20. Macha, who finished a half-length behind her stablemate, paid $4 to show.
Becky Lou, a 13-1 shot, finished a half-length behind Macha in fourth. Charlie Em, winner of the Senorita and 7-2 second choice in the Honeymoon, Somethingabouther, Wittgenstein, and Kyriaki completed the order of finish. Blingismything, Scooter Bird, and Sweet Red Cat were scratched.