Unlucky Penny's Fortune Wins First Stakes

(from Bay Meadows report)
Penny's Fortune, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Storm Cat who cost $650,000 at the 2002 Keeneland September yearling sale, surged to the lead entering the stretch and went on to a two-length victory in the $57,825 Carmel Handicap at Bay Meadows Sunday.

The 4-5 favorite ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr., Penny's Fortune took the one mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies in 1:37.01 and paid $3.80.

Penny's Fortune, owned by Howard and Mary Lester, won her career debut at Turfway Park last September but then lost six in a row before winning an allowance/optional claiming race on the turf at Del Mar on Aug. 15. She now owns a two-race winning streak.

"(Her career) got off to a slow start," said Howard Lester. "She stumbled at the start when she won her maiden race, and the next few races she just had tough luck. She'd get bumped or something. These last two races she's run really well and had a little racing luck. I think we're learning how to race her."

"I'm excited about her future," said Valdivia. "She's been training so good and she put herself right in the race today. We had a dream trip. All I did was bide my time until it was time to turn her loose."

Penny's Fortune bid on the far turn and she quickly went by front-runners Secret Corsage and Lost Bride. Penny's Fortune crossed the wire two lengths clear of Dawn's Angel, who took second by a head over Go Ask Daisy.

"She's a long-striding filly who has a lot of talent," said Valdivia. "She's got some Storm Cat in her, but she's settling down now. I'm very pleased with her. She ran a very good race today."

Penny's Fortune, trained by Jenine Sahadi, earned $30,600 for her first stakes win and has made $104,169 in nine career starts.

(Chart, Equibase)