With Mike Smith aboard, Passified took a big step toward the 2007 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) at 1 1/8 miles Aug. 18 with her half-length victory over Fleet Caroline, who proved difficult to catch in her stakes debut. Passified was timed in 1:34 over a firm course.
Twice graded stakes placed this year, Passified was taken in hand after hustling into a ground-saving position tracking Fleet Caroline, who set a quick pace for Joe Talamo while leading by two lengths on the clubhouse turn. After carving fractions of :21 3/5 for the opening quarter mile and :46 2/5 for the half, Fleet Caroline, bounced away from the field on the far turn and was in command in the stretch with Passified and Mostbeautifulstorm chasing gamely. The leader appeared to tire just a bit approaching the furlong pole, however, and Passified, who had angled out a bit for running room, was ready to take advantage. Passified rallied to the wire with left-handed urging from Smith and appeared to have something left as she chalked up her first graded stakes win at odds of 6-1.
"We knew we had to take her back some, just not too far back," Smith said. "She likes to be covered up; you’ve got to ride her that way. She’s just too strong if you don’t. I had the perfect trip. It couldn’t have worked out better.”
Fleet Caroline, making her first start in three months, finished one length clear of the show horse, the late running Spenditallbaby, with Mostbeautifulstorm fourth. Super Freaky, the 13-10 favorite, finished fifth.
Trained by James Cassidy for James Peyton's Forging Oaks Farm, the Great Britain-bred daughter of Compton Place appeared to be a one-dimensional front-runner earlier this season after transferring to America from Great Britain late last year. After winning the China Doll on the Santa Anita turf in March, Passified was gunned down late in three successive graded stakes attempts. Super Freaky edged her in Santa Anita's one-mile Providencia (gr. IIIT) as Passified ran second a month later, then she lost to the well-regarded Valbenny in the one-mile Senorita (gr. IIIT), where she finished third, and the 1 1/8-mile Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT), when fourth. Both of those defeats came on the Hollywood Park lawn.
In her last start, the one-mile Flawlessly at Hollywood, Smith was able to get the chestnut filly to stalk the pace. She overcame a bump on the final turn to come home a length in front as the 9-10 choice. She has now won five of 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $323,070 after Saturday's winning share of $90,000.
“I felt good when we were able to rate her in her last race," Cassidy said. "Actually, I thought she was rating a little too much today. Part of her problem is that she outbreaks the rest of the field and that makes it hard to take her back. But she is as genuine a filly as they come. Aside from her first race off the plane from England (a sixth in the gr. III Miesque at Hollywood in November), she has never run a bad race. She’s a very tough filly. I’m looking forward to the Oaks.”
Passified carried 119 pounds, one less than Super Freaky, who ran second in both the Senorita and the Honeymoon in her last two starts.
“Somebody slipped the kryptonite in on me," said Super Freaky's jockey, Jon Court, wearing owner Suarez Racing’s Superman colors. "Some days are good days; some days are not.”
Passified paid $15, $7 and $4.60.
Fleet Caroline returned $10.80 and $6.80 after drawing into the race, completing an $80.10 exacta.
“She ran to her style," Talamo said of the runner-up. "That’s how she wants to go. We didn’t want to take her out of that. She was away three months, and all these other fillies have been running. She’s all heart. When she runs, she gives it to you all. It was a good race for her.”
Spenditallbaby, wheeled right back by trainer Barry Abrams following a victory in a state-bred stakes July 22, was $4.60 to show.
Pinata, Diva's Seastar, Tremendous One, La Tee, and Private Dreams trailed. Eclisse and Honnete scratched.