Zazu, coming from far out of it, charged down the center of the course to defeat Ultra Blend in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I) as 13-10 choice Blind Luck failed to fire at Santa Anita Oct. 1 (VIDEO).
A 3-year-old daughter of Tapit owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Sadler, Zazu turned the tables on Ultra Blend, who defeated her by a neck in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) over Del Mar's Polytrack Aug. 6. With the victory, the leggy gray filly earned a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Blind Luck, never worse that third in a career that includes 12 wins in 21 starts, ran last after being eased by jockey Garrett Gomez in the final furlong.
Great Hot finished third.
Joel Rosario guided Zazu to victory. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile test of fillies and mares was a sharp 1:41.59 over a fast track.
Her sparkling come-from-behind win in the Lady's Secret was reminiscent of the way the Mosses' 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta used to win her races.
“Ability-wise, she can run with anyone, anytime, anywhere," said an enthusiastic Rosario. "She has an amazing turn of foot—one that I’ve never seen before. No disrespect to the other horses today, but she only ran about four jumps when we turned for home and then she shut it down.
"I just have so much confidence in her and today, she had 10 gears and she only had to use four of them. She really loves this track over here. She’s just a champion. I’m very happy with the way things are going right now.”
Bred in Kentucky by Summerhill Equine, Zazu won the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) and Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) over 3-year-old fillies earlier this year. Out of the Mr. Greeley mare Rhumb Line, she was a $285,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase.
Zazu dropped out to last, trailing Blind Luck, as 40-1 Champagne d'Oro struck the lead over Ask the Moon, a back-to-back winner of grade I races at Saratoga this summer. Champagne d'Oro provided a swift pace, clicking off quarter-mile fractions of :22.66, :46.34, and 1:10.28 while maintaining a one-length lead over Ask the Moon, with the Brazilian-bred Great Hot stalking in third for Chantal Sutherland.
Champagne d'Oro was still two lengths in front at mid-stretch as Great Hot and Ultra Blend, ridden by David Flores, challenged. Zazu, advancing on the far outside under strong handling from Rosario, gained the lead past the sixteenth pole and prevailed over Ultra Blend in the final strides. Great Hot was 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third.
“I was a little bit surprised she was that far back," said Sadler, who indicated that Zazu is headed for the Breeders' Cup. "I saw a fast pace up front. She trained really well for this race. She’s been a little unlucky in a couple of races but to me this is your top three-year-old filly in the country. We have a win over Turbulent Descent. We’re two to one over Plum Pretty and (had) a signature win today.
"I mean obviously Blind Luck didn’t run her best. I’m making the case for Zazu. I hope the other filly comes out okay. Zazu, she brings it every time. She’s never run a bad race this year. I’m thrilled for the Mosses.”
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer could not pinpoint a problem with Blind Luck, who returned with no obvious physical issue.
“I don’t know – bad training job,” he said.
The victory, worth $150,000, boosted Zazu's earnings to $682,985. She has won four of 11 lifetime starts with five seconds and a third.
Zazu carried 118 pounds, six fewer than Ultra Blend.
She paid $5.80, $3.80, $4.40 as the second choice. Ultra Blend returned $6.80 and $6.60. The exacta was $31.60. The show price on Great Hot was $9.60.
Champagne d'Oro was fourth, followed by Love Theway Youare, Ask the Moon, and Blind Luck.