Dearest Trickski Bags La Brea
Photo: Benoit
Dearest Trickski runs away with the La Brea.
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A $32,000 claim at Del Mar this summer, Dearest Trickski became a grade I winner when she ran away from the field in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park Dec. 29.

The La Brea is the final grade I race of 2007.

With Mike Smith in the saddle, Dearest Trickski took the lead from Unspoken Word shortly after the start and never looked back, defeating 10 rivals in the seven-furlong Cushion Track test in an excellent time of 1:21.09.

Making her stakes debut, Dearest Trickski won her fourth consecutive race since being taken by trainer John Sadler Aug. 4 for owner Tom Mankiewicz of Los Angeles. The Florida-bred daughter of Proudest Romeo--Trickski (by Peteski) was twice claimed previously this year, once for as little as $10,000 at Lone Star Park in April.

Dearest Trickski took advantage of a field light on speed and graded stakes credentials to win handily for Smith. After starting quickly to gain the lead, she set sensible fractions of :22 2/5 and :44 2/5 before getting away from the stalking Unspoken Word and Glorified coming off the turn for home. The bay filly opened up  by more than two lengths on Unspoken Word, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, and prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths under left-handed encouragement in the final furlong.

“I was really glad to be reunited with the owner, Mr. Mankiewicz," Smith noted. "We won a lot of races together when I first came to California and I’m glad to get back with him. 

"John told me to just let this filly do her thing, to just leave her alone. She’s very quick and she left the gate today like we were going 870 at Los Al. She relaxed and finished great.”

Unspoken Word, competing on the East Coast in turf races all year before being turned over to Jerry Hollendorfer last month, finished up gamely to take second. Second choice Glorified, Jose Valdivia Jr., aboard, finished a non-threatening third, 2 1/4 lengths farther back. Favored Sindy With an S (5-2) and Michael Baze saved fourth.

Dearest Trickski did not race at 2, but has won eight of 12 starts with two seconds during a busy 2007 campaign. Most of her efforts came at Oaklawn and Lone Star parks prior to being shipped to Del Mar by trainer Cody Autrey this summer. Sadler claimed her in her first West Coast start. The victory, worth $150,000, more than doubled Dearest Trickski's previous earnings to $280,500. Dearest Trickski has won three of four starts on all weather tracks.

“She’s been great on the synthetics," Sadler said. "Some (horses) don’t like the synthetics, so you hope you have some that really will move up on it and she’s been that horse.”

Dr. K.K. Jayaraman and Dr. V. Devi Jayaraman bred the winner, who was claimed from them for $12,500 at Oaklawn in March.

Sent off as the third choice, Dearest Trickski paid $10.80, $6.60 and $4.20, topping a $2 exacta worth $62.50 with Unspoken Word. The latter, who has now been in the money in nine of 10 starts this year, returned $9.80 and $5.80. The well regarded Glorified, making her first start in nearly six months for trainer Ron Ellis and Jay Em Ess Stable, was $4 to show. The first three finishers ran 1-2-3 virtually all the way.

It was 1 1/2 lengths to Sindy With an S in fourth. She was followed by Swiss Diva, Ashley's Kitty, Look Deep, Frisk Her, Cathrine's Hope, Pinata and Macadamia. Silky Smooth, Dawn After Dawn and Shriek were scratched.

The La Brea is the first leg of the three-race La Canada stakes series that resumes with the  1 1/16-mile El Encino (gr. II) Jan. 13 and the nine-furlong La Canada (gr. II) Feb. 10 for 4-year-old fillies.

Sadler said Dawn After Dawn, third in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland in April, was scratched to run in the El Encino.

In the earlier $139,500 California Breeders Champion Stakes, odds-on favorite Spring Awakening put away 51-1 pacesetter Lovehi midstretch and held off Onebadkitty to win the seven-furlong event for California-bred 2-year-old fillies by one length while timed in 1:22.09.

It was the third win in six starts for the Mike Mitchell trained daughter of In Excess, who was ridden by Garrett Gomez. The winning purse of $83,700 increased Spring Awakening’s career earnings to $251,662 for the partnership of Michael Coit, Robert Strauss, and breeder Gerald Frankel. She paid $3 to win.

Guided by Alex Solis, English-import Yankee Bravo closed furiously to win the $79,850 Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds at one mile on turf. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Yankee Bravo split horses in the stretch to defeat Sky Cape by one-half length with Nistle’s Crunch 1 3/4 lengths back in third. The winning time was 1:37.64.

A winner of his only start in England by six lengths, Yankee Bravo remained unbeaten after two starts. He was well-backed for his U.S. debut, paying $8.20 to win.

(Chart, Equibase)

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