Scarlet Strike went off as the 2-1 favorite in the Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 6 at Santa Anita Park, but her victory was anything but easy.
Placed near the rear of the 10-horse field going nine grassy furlongs, Scarlet Strike made a three-wide move going into the second turn, was pushed out into the four-path into the stretch, and needed a long, sustained run under urging to gain a half-length victory over front-running second-choice Birdlover (VIDEO).
Scarlet Strike scored in the test for 3 year old fillies in 1:47.52, providing the second stakes score on the afternoon for breeders Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, which also bred Potrero Grande (gr. II) victor Jimmy Creed . Scarlet Strike is a daughter of Smart Strike out of the French Deputy mare Scarlet Tango, and was bred in Kentucky.
Racing for her trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, in partnership with John Carver and Green Smith, Scarlet Strike raced about five lengths in arrears early under Rafael Bejarano, who knew exactly when to push the button after Birdlover set the pace through early fractions of :23.80, :47.70, and 1:12.17.
“I had to move a little early because the position I was in was going to make it harder to win from,” said the rider. “At the three-eighths pole I found my position behind the leader and just followed her. I had a lot of horse, so I knew I could move and find a better position.”
Hollendorfer added, “Rafael has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. You couldn’t get a better ride than that. This was a terrific race for this filly. I’ve very proud of her.”
After Birdlover, Sweet Red Cat moved from far back to grab third by a nose over Flashy Ways, who was followed by Sarach,Kyriaki,Magnificent Shirl, Akiss Forarose, Wittgenstein, and Sultry Season.
Scarlet Strike, picking up her first stakes win, returned $6, $3.80, and $2.80. Birdlover paid $4.80 and $3.60, and Sweet Red Cat was good for $6.00. The $2 exacta returned $26.
She extended her earnings to $332,340 while improving her overall mark to 2-3-5 in 10 starts.