Miss Shop Finds Bargain in Millions F&M Turf

Hobeau Farm’s homebred filly Miss Shop circled rivals four wide on the far turn and drove to a hard-fought 1 1/4-length victory over California invader Memorette in Saturday’s $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode the 4-year-old Florida-bred winner for trainer Allen Jerkens to register a mild upset in the 1 1/8-mile turf test. Charmsil finished third, a half-length behind the runner-up as the winner was timed in 1:46 3/5 over the ‘firm’ course.

Bayou's Lassie, with Elvis Trujillo riding, was the lukewarm favorite at 3-1 and finished another half-length in fourth after setting the modest pace -- :24 3/5, :48 4/5 and 1:11 4/5 -- before giving way at the sixteenth pole after a stretch battle with Charmsil and Javier Castellano. Memorette, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, rallied between horses to also challenge for the lead but had to settle for second as Miss Shop gunned past on the outside.

"She broke really good, and I just tried not to use her too much, and put her in a good position," Bejarano said. "I noticed on the turn a horse outside me moved a little early. I just got in behind her and waited to the quarter pole. When I asked her, she flew."

Miss Shop was a winner of four of 14 starts in 2006 including the Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) on the main track at Aqueduct in November. Miss Shop also finished third in Belmont's Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) on the main track last summer. Transferred south by Jerkens last month, the daughter of Deputy Minister ran sixth in the Frances Genter (gr. IIIT) on the Calder turf in her last start Dec. 30, 4 1/2 lengths behind the winner that day, Bayou's Lassie.

The bay filly has won four of her seven starts on grass while recording an overall record of 7-1-4 in 18 lifetime races. She earned $275,000 Satuday to boost her bankroll to $613,630.

Miss Shop is out of the Private Account mare Shopping.

“You’re always anxious when a horse is coming off a race that was sub-par," Jerkens said. "You never know if they’re going to come right back and do it again. She liked this course a little better. She likes the dirt too. She’s just a nice filly. The mare has always had nice foals and this one is the best yet. It’s always nice to get lucky. She likes to come from off the pace and that’s what happened. The way she came around them, she had to be the best to win today."

Sent off as the fourth choice in the field of 12, Miss Shop paid $13.40, $7.20 and $4.60. Memorette, a little unlucky in defeat, returned $7 and $5.40. Charmsil was $4.20 to show.

“The winner got the jump on me," Desormeaux lamented. "I should have moved earlier.”

Following Bayou's Lassie was May Night, Prop Me Up, Formal Miss, a bothered Rich in Spirit, Fortunate Event, Saint Knows, Tiger Belle and Private Betty. Howaboutrightnow scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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