Cozi Rosie in the 2011 Buena Vista Handicap.

Cozi Rosie in the 2011 Buena Vista Handicap.

Benoit Photography

Long Layoff No Problem for Cozi Rosie

Cozi Rosie returned from a long layoff to win the Buena Vista Handicap Feb. 21.

Despite moderate fractions, Jerry and Ann Moss’ Cozi Rosie circled most of her foes and drew away to a comfortable 1 1/4-length tally in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park Feb. 21 (VIDEO) .

Mike Smith rode the winner for trainer John Sadler, who won his eighth stakes of the winter/spring meet at the California track. The Mosses also bred Cozi Rosie, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Pleasantly Perfect out of the Golden Fleece mare Felidia.

Briecat, who set all the pace, held for second by a nose over favored Malibu Pier. Cozi Rosie paid $13 to win.

Fractions on the firm turf course were :23.48 for the opening quarter-mile, :47.44 for a half-mile, 1:11.05 for six furlongs, and 1:35.94 for the mile. The outcome of the race was no doubt impacted by the scratch of Evening Jewel, the morning-line favorite.

“There was certainly a sense of relief when I saw Evening Jewel scratch out of the race,” Smith said. “She’s very talented and she has tactical speed. She would have been making the first run, and I would have had to try and run her down.

“My horse is sharp and she got away well. I opted to get her clear real quick down the backside just because she’s a big filly and I needed to give her some room. I didn’t care about going wide because I already saved ground on the first turn, and she ran dynamite.

“I’m telling you, she has an abundance of talent. To be honest, I haven’t been around her in the morning, but I’m sure glad I was on her today. She has so much room to improve. I don’t know how many gears she has, but she only used a couple of them today.”

Sadler said Cozi Rosie, who hadn’t raced since May 31, 2010, needed some time off. She entered the Buena Vista off a strong series of distance works on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park.

“We were happy to see the speed in there because she wants to come off the pace,” Sadler said. “That’s when she started to get really good last year—when she relaxed in the end and closed well. We think she’ll run right on out on the distance, so that’s a lot of fun.”

Cozi Rosie now has four wins in nine starts. She’s two-for-four with a second on grass.

Earlier on the holiday program, Cambina, owned by Anthony Bilich, Jason Cline, and George Schmitt, won the $100,000 La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course.

Garrett Gomez rode the winner, a 3-year-old Irish-bred filly by Hawk Wing out of the Peintre Celebre mare Await. Jeff Bonde trains the filly, who won for the third time in seven starts.

Cambina, who rallied from 11th and last to get up by a nose over Quiet Oasis, paid $8.80 to win as the second choice. Cathy's Crunches was third and favored Cloneylass fourth in the stakes for 3-year-old fillies.