On the day I'll Have Another was honored at Betfair Hollywood Park, jockey Mario Gutierrez and owner J. Paul Reddam teamed to win the $150,000 Royal Heroine Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) by a head with Quiet Oasis July 7 (VIDEO).
Quiet Oasis, an Irish-bred 4-year-old filly trained by Ben Cecil, won her second graded grass stakes of the meet at one mile when she got up in the final couple of jumps to nip outsider Mega Dream in a time of 1:35.06. The winner was sent off at odds of 3-1.
It was a special day for Gutierrez and Reddam, who received a warm reception from the fans along with trainer Doug O'Neill when they paraded Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness (both gr. I) winner I'll Have Another following the third race. The retired I'll Have Another is destined for Japan to begin his career as a stallion following a 30-day quarantine.
"This is just great," Gutierrez said after the win.
Reddam noted afterward that Gutierrez has won six of eight starts for him in stakes races this year, including his four victories with I'll Have Another.
Quiet Oasis, a daughter of Oasis Dream, became a grade II winner for the first time after just missing by a half-length in the Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) May 28 over the course. The bay filly captured the one-mile Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her first start of the year April 29 at Hollywood.
Anxious early as Gutierrez wrestled her back off the pace into the clubhouse turn, Quiet Oasis settled down toward the inside while racing fifth in the strong field of eight older fillies and mares. Angled to the outside for room in upper stretch, Quiet Oasis proved a willing winner as she kicked home impressively to pip Mega Dream in a great finish. The runner-up finished a neck in front of the pacesetting Briecat. Nereid was fourth.
Gutierrez, riding Quiet Oasis for the third time, said she didn't fight him as much this time.
"I've been working her in the mornings, and I knew she was really feeling good for this race," Gutierrez said. "She's been settling down really nicely in her works. I thought if she could settle like that in the afternoon, nobody could beat her."
All Star Heart, the 8-5 favorite following her victory in the Redondo Beach Stakes June 10, gave way in upper stretch after chasing the leaders behind Quiet Oasis. She finished last.
Briecat set a deliberate pace while leading Mega Dream through easy quarter-mile fractions of :24.26, :47.84, and 1:11.47. Mega Dream, edging up on the outside of Briecat, managed a scant lead closing in on the wire but couldn't hold over the fast-closing winner.
Quiet Oasis began her United States career with a seventh-place finish in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT). Transferred from British trainer Brian Meehan to Cecil for the 2011 season, the lightly raced filly has three victories and two seconds from six starts since then.
"We bought her from our trainer (Meehan) in England and she's stretched out like a pro," Reddam said. "The other difference is that now she's able to relax more and settle. When she first got here, she was very, very keen and would kind of take herself out of the race. She's like a different racehorse now and I would give full credit to Ben and his team."
Her overall mark stands at 4-2-1 in 10 tries with earnings of $262,379.
"She hasn't done much wrong since she's been here," Cecil said. "Her one not-so-great race was the Matriarch and she really didn't run a bad race."
Quiet Oasis was sixth in the grade I Matriarch Nov. 25.
Quiet Oasis paid $8, $3.80, $3.20. Mega Dream, winner of the Great Lady M Stakes over the course at six furlongs for trainer Jeff Bonde in her most recent start May 27, returned $7.20 and $5.20 while completing a $62.20 exacta. Ten-time winner Briecat paid $7.20 to show.
Nereid, last year's American Oaks (gr. IT) winner in a dead-heat, was followed by Ninth Infantry, Up in Time, City to City, and All Star Heart.