Harissa pulled away to win the Sunland Park Oaks in New Mexico.

Harissa pulled away to win the Sunland Park Oaks in New Mexico.

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Harissa Gets Hot in Sharp Sunland Oaks Win

Southern California shipper scores first stakes victory for trainer David Hofmans.

Southern California shipper Harissa got hot at the right time when she pulled away from pacesetter Hayley's Halo to win the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks (VIDEO) in New Mexico March 28.

With Tyler Baze aboard Harissa for the first time for trainer David Hofmans, the daughter of Afleet Alex  scored her first stakes victory by 3 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies. She was clocked in a strong 1:42.90.

The pacemakers Harissa and Hayley's Halo made it a two-horse race on the final turn when favored Queen Greeley and Ellafitz, also in from Southern California for trainer Bob Baffert, could not keep up. The first two dueled through the lane before Harissa took control in the final furlong. Queen Greeley, the 8-5 choice in the six-horse field, finished a distant third, 2 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

Hayley's Halo's quarter-mile fractions were solid -- :23.41, :46.76 and 1:11.25.

Owned by Gem Inc., Harissa posted back-to-back runner-up finishes in 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance races at Santa Anita in her most recent efforts. She improved her career record to 2-2-1 in seven races and boosted her earnings to $174,520 with the winning purse of $120,000.

Jeanne Bruce bred the winning bay filly, who is out of Dynasty, by Time for a Change, in Kentucky. Harissa sold for $95,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2008.

Sent off as the co-second choice, Harissa paid $6.80, $3.60 and $2.60. Halyley's Halo, making her stakes debut for trainer Henry Dominguez, returned $10.20 and $3.60 as the longest price on the board, completing a $74.20 exacta. Queen Greeley was coming off back-to-back stakes wins at Sunland for trainer Todd Fincher and paid $2.20 to show.

Tornado Betty was followed home by Pyrite On My Mind and Ellafitz.