Stalking Quisisana took advantage of a heated pace duel to register her first stakes victory by a nose over streaking Dubai Majesty in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Jan. 30 (VIDEO).
The California-bred daughter of Decarchy inched ahead of Dotsy Jean in deep stretch and outlasted a flying Dubai Majesty in the last few strides to score the Golden State's first victory of the day in the annual California-Florida competition at Santa Anita and Gulfstream parks. With Rafael Bajarano aboard the Mike Puype trainee, the winning time for the six-furlong Pro-Ride test was a sharp 1:08.47.
Dubai Majesty got up for second with Jamie Theriot aboard, a half-length in front of Dotsy Jean and Victor Espinoza. Dubai Majesty, from the Bret Calhoun stable, also ran second in last year's Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream.
The 2-1 favorite Miss McCall, pressed by Libor Lady, set it up for the late runners, blazing an opening quarter-mile in :21.44 and the half-mile in :43.75. Miss McCall held on until inside the eighth pole before giving way. Defending champion High Resolve was not a factor, dropping back soon after breaking with the leaders on the outside in the 13-horse field.
Quisisana was never far off the lead and came home strongly under right-handed urging from Bejarano.
“I let her break on her own, but I wanted to be close to the pace with her," Bejarano said. "I knew (Miss McCall), (Libor Lady) and (High Resolve) would show a lot of speed. When we got to the stretch, we were in a perfect position, and I gave her a chance to switch leads and she kept running. She was really tough today.”
Owned by Ran Jan Racing, 5-year-old Quisisana earned $110,000 for the victory while improving her career mark to 5-1-2 in 10 starts with purses totaling $275,758. Quisisana was coming off a 2 1/2-length win over a $200,000 optional claiming allowance field at Hollywood Park Dec. 13, her only win in 2009. She has won five of seven starts on synthetic tracks.
"She’s at her home on synthetic," Puype said. "They didn’t get by her. She’s tough. She’s not very big, but she’s gutty. They ran right to her, and she held them off. Raffy gave her a perfect ride. I’m proud of the way she dug in when the other horse got to her. She had the whole stretch to have a chance to get beat, and she wouldn’t let that other horse get it done. She just kept going.”
Todd Gerbovaz bred Quisisana. The dark bay or brown mare is out of Mink Kiss, by Distinctive Cat .
Sent off as the third choice, Quisisana paid $15, $6.20 and $4.80, and topped a $63.60 exacta. Dubai Majesty, in her first start since finishing fourth in the Chjilukki Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 7, returned $4.40 and $3.40 as the second choice. Dotsy Jean, who could not match strides late, saw her two-race winning streak come to an end. She was $5 to show.
It was 2 1/2 lengths to Miss McCall in fourth. She was followed by Emmy Darling, Via Veneto, U R All That I Am, Sleep Tight, Rate of Exchange, Fearless Leader, Libor Lady, High Resolve and Magdalena's Chase.