Buffythecenterfold and jockey Victor Espinoza looped the leaders on the turn for home and went on to win the $107,200 Railbird Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Hollywood Park.
The 2-5 favorite in the field of six, the strapping daughter of Capote had a little trouble maintaining a straight course, ducking in on runner-up Honest Answer after getting the lead at the top of the stretch. She registered a game one-length victory in a time of 1:22 2/5 for the seven-furlong Railbird.
Owned by Stronach Stables and Allen Brian, Buffythecenterfold is trained by Mel Stute, who last won the Railbird in 1987 with eventual Breeders' Cup Sprint champion Very Subtle.
The winner, who was coupled with third-place finisher Dash for Money, settled third on the outside some three to four lengths off the pace of Honest Answer, who led stalking Himalayan through fractions of :22 2/5 and :45 3/5. Buffythecenterfold made a wide move around the leaders on the turn for home and was in command in the lane while somewhat erratic.
Buffythecenterfold's namesake, Buffy Tyler, Playboy's Miss November 2000, was in attendance.
Buffythecenterfold, who had been off since her seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in October until the March 23 Santa Paula at Santa Anita, has won both of her starts in 2003. Overall, she has five wins and a second in eight career starts and earnings of $334,135.
"Most importantly, we have a Hall of Fame trainer," Brian said afterward in reference to Stute, who was passed over for racing's Hall recognition for the fourth time recently. "That means a great deal to me. We love him a lot."
Stute said the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) on June14 at 1 1/16 mile is the most likely of several options for his filly.
Buffythecenterfold paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10. Honest Answer, ridden by Corey Nakatani, returned $3.40 and $2.10. Alex Solis was aboard Buffy's entrymate, Dash for Money, for the show. She finished three lengths behind the winner.