Habaya, a daughter of Storm Cat out of the Eclipse Award-winning turf mare Golden Apples, came from off the pace to earn her first graded stakes win in the $113,800 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park Nov. 28.
The Shadwell homebred defeated Internallyflawless by three-quarters of a length in the Miesque, a one-mile event for 2-year-old fillies that kicked off the stakes action in the Fall Hollywood Turf Festival, which runs through Nov. 30.
Kiaran McLaughlin trains Habaya, who was ridden to victory by Richard Migliore.
Two noses separated the second through fourth-place finishers. Eloquently finished third and Emmy Darling, who gained a slight nod as the 2-1 favorite over Habaya, was fourth. Both are trained by leading Hollywood conditioner John Sadler.
Habaya, closing from the outside through the lane after chasing the pace for the first six furlongs, overtook Emmy Darling in deep stretch and held sway under urging from Migliore. Eloquently closed gamely on the inside for jockey Joel Rosario, and Internallyflawless, with Garrett Gomez aboard, rallied four wide. The final time was 1:37.07 on firm going in spite of heavy recent rainfall in Southern California.
"She was real professional until we reached the front," said Migliore, who has ridden Habaya in all of her starts. "Then she lost her focus a little, which bodes well for the future because there was more left in the tank. It was like she was saying, 'What's next?' She got to wandering the final sixteenth, but every time she felt a horse, she answered the challenge."
Pretty Katherine, with Emmy Darling pressuring from the outset, set moderate fractions of :24.37, :49.20, and 1:13.20 while leading the field into the homestretch.
Habaya, a Kentucky-bred filly who was sent to Dubai before her racing career began, had won two of her three starts. She debuted with a half-length win over madien special weights at Belmont Park Sept.25. She was elevated to stakes company in her next start, finishing second in the JP Morgan Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland two weeks later, 4 3/4 lengths behing Laragh.
She earned $73,800 for the victory, pushing her career earnings to $135,000.
"We're going to go to Florida with her (to Gulfstream Park)," said Neal McLaughlin, Kiaran's brother, who oversaw her preparation in California since early November. "We're going to space out her races a little bit, look after her, and have big goals next summer like the American Oaks (gr.IT)."
Habaya paid $6.80, $4.20, and $3.20. Internallyflawless returned $4.60 and $3.80 in her initial stakes try after breaking her maiden for trainer Bob Baffert in her turf and route debut at Santa Anita Sept. 28.The $2 exacta was worth $28.80. Eloquently, making her first American start after posting a five-length debut win on Polytrack at England's Wolverhampton race course, was $4.80 to show.
After Emmy Darling came Dreamalong, Atka, Pretty Katherine, Kinesiology, Century Park, Platinum Stiletto, Ms. Lively, and Grace Gryder.