Evita Argentina charged from last to post a two-length victory in the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park July 18 to become the first 3-year-old to win the race since Honeymoon in 1946.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Evita Argentina headed the other 3-year-old in the field, Lady Lumberjack, under urging at the sixteenth pole. She drew off to win smartly while completing the seven furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:21.80.
Only one other 3-year-old, Painted Veil in 1941, has won the A Gleam.
John Sadler trains Evita Argentina, who won the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) over males in February for owner Halo Farms and Three Sisters Thoroughbreds. Halo Farms' Kentucky-bred daughter of Candy Ride --Jealous Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat, won for the third time in six starts at seven panels.
"I didn't realize how long it was but I figured it had been a long time. They don't usually run 3-year-olds against older this early in the year," Sadler said. "She's kind of a specialist at seven-eighths, so this was a good race for her."
Sadler said Evita Argentina's ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at her favorite distance at Santa Anita this November.
Silver Swallow, closing four wide for Garrett Gomez, got up in the last strides for second by a head over Lady Lumberjack and Michael Baze.
Coco Belle, the 5-2 favorite in the field of nine fillies and mares, established fast early splits under pressure -- :22.18 and :44.78 -- and led to the eighth pole before weakening to sixth.
Evita Argentina improved her career mark to 5-1-0 in 10 starts and bumped her earnings to $431,400 with the winner's share of $90,000. She was coming off a fourth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) June 7.
"I rode her last time going longer and she really didn't have much punch in the stretch,” Rosario said. “I think she's better going short. Today, when I asked her, she really responded. I knew they were going very fast so I wasn't worried about being so far back. That's how she likes to run. She was moving so fast I just wanted to make sure she was in the clear."
Sent off as the second choice, the chestnut filly carried 115 pounds -- five fewer than the top-weighted Coco Belle -- and paid $9.20, $5, and $3.80.
Silver Swallow has posted consecutive runner-up stakes finishes for trainer Bruce Headley after returning from a seven-month layoff in April. She returned $5.60 and $3.20 while completing a $2 exacta worth $57.80.
Lady Lumberjack, second in the Hollywood Oaks, was was $4.40 to show.
It was three lengths to She's Cheeky in fourth. She was followed by Cry and Catch Me, who pushed the early pace, Coco Belle, Ashley's Kitty, Lovely Isle, and Modification.