Beautyandthebeast Provides Fairy Tale Close

Favored Beautyandthebeast rallied between rivals in the stretch to take the lead and narrowly held off the furious charge of Clinet by a head to win the $150,000 Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares Sunday as the Oak Tree meet ended at Santa Anita.

With meet riding champion Corey Nakatani in the irons, the 4-year-old Beautyandthebeast was timed for the mile in 1:33 1/5 for her first graded stakes victory.

In making it back-to-back stakes victory at the meeting after a head victory in the Oct. 4 Swingtime, Beautyandthebeast paid $6, $3.40 and $3. Clinet, with Alex Solis up, paid $4 and $3.60. The show price on Quemar, with Victor Espinoza aboard, was $5.60.

Neil Drysdale, who trains the British-bred Beautyandthebeast, lauded Nakatani's ride in the Las Palmas."It was a beautiful ride, very well-timed," he said.

"I just ride her with confidence," said Nakatani, whose 24 wins gained his fourth Oak Tree riding title.

Owned by the Abergwaun Farm of Neil Jones, Vancouver, Wash., the chestnut daughter of Machiavellian picked up the winner's share of $90,000 to boost her career total to $275,184 from six wins in 14 starts.

Beautyandthebeast was well back in the field of eight while saving ground as Sandra's Rose set a lively pace of :22 4/5, :45 4/5 and 1:09 2/5. She edged outward to challenge in the stretch and responded well to the left-handed urging from Baze. She gained the lead in deep stretch and won gamely over the Irish-bred Clinet, who was making her U.S. debut for English trainer John Hills. Quemar, who gained a short lead in the stretch from between horses after racing close to the pace, settled for third, a half-length behind the runner-up.

Movie Star, who lacked room in the stretch run, finished fourth, followed by Strong Faith, Berbatim, Singalong and Sandra's Rose. Sohgol scratched.

Live racing shifts to Hollywood Park on Wednesday before returning to Santa Anita on Dec. 26 for the track's winter/spring meet.

(Chart, Equibase)