Berbatim Takes Control in Providencia

Under steady handling from Alex Solis, Berbatim took control in the stretch and rolled to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $111,600 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Santa Anita turf Saturday.

Trained by Richard Mandella for owners Gary and Wendy Broad, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernstein notched her fist victory since taking the Canterbury Park Lassie in July. The time for the 1 1/8-mile grass event was 1:47 3/5.

The French-bred Royal Copenhagen, with Rene Douglas aboard, made up much ground to finish second, a length in front of Thatswhatimean.

The English-bred Singhalese was a nose back in fourth, two lengths in front of the 3-2 choice Shining Energy.

Crystal House, On London Time, Cleft, Thanks and Guaranteed Victory rounded out the order.

Although the Providencia was run for the first time as a graded stakes, the race did not have a graded stakes winner in the 10-horse field.

That was fine with the connections for Berbatim, who was coming off a third-place finish behind the winning Shining Energy in the March 6 La Habra. She was beaten by three lengths after a poor break on the about 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf course in that effort, her first start of the year. The extra distance was just what Berbatim, a $12,000 Keeneland September sale in 2003, needed.

Berbatim set just off the inside as Guaranteed Victory cut the early fractions of :23 2/5, :47 4/5 and 1:12 2/5, bidding for the lead at the top of the final turn. Royal Copenhagen was far back through the early going and moved into contention between horses on the turn to get second in the stretch run without challenging the winner.

The winner paid $10.40, $5.40 and $3.80 as the second choice. Royal Copenhagen, another filly who came out of the La Habra tune-up, ran second for the fourth time in her seven-race career, returning $5.20 and $3.60. Thatswhatimean, winner of the China Doll in her last race March 12, showed for $4.60.

Berbatim has three victories in six lifetime starts and earnings of $133,106. She was previously in the stable of Frank Springer.

(Chart, Equibase)