Shipping in from the East Coast off a maiden win at Laurel Park, Glen Hill Farm's homebred Family Meeting took a step up with style in the Jimmy Durante Stakes (gr. IIIT) Nov. 28 at Del Mar.
In her first start against winners, the 2-year-old Sky Mesa filly and jockey Drayden Van Dyke found themselves in ninth going into the final turn in the mile turf test, then went four wide in the bend and five wide entering the stretch to surge past on the outside, outfinishing fellow closer Mokat by a half-length at odds of 37-1.
"She's a little green. She hasn't quite figured it all out yet," Van Dyke said. "She was idling on me, but I could feel I had a ton of horse under me, so I just wanted to keep her calm. When it came time, she went. She's a good one; can't wait to see what she does next."
Mokat got a dream rail trip after racing mid-pack in sixth, but could not hold off the Tom Proctor-trained Family Meeting. Sutton's Smile also rallied to finish third, 1 3/4 lengths back, after Corps de Ballet set the pace with fractions of :23.21, :48.03, and 1:13.10 through six furlongs.
"Good trip, good try," said Mokat's jockey Corey Nakatani. "She just broke her maiden and here she is in with the stakes horses. This course has some cut to it and she ran dynamite on it today."
Family Meeting hit the wire in 1:37.14 on turf rated firm and paid $76.60, $33.60, and $13.80 across the board. Mokat brought $8 and $6.80, while Sutton's Smile delivered $8.20 to show.
Bred in Florida, out of the Repriced mare Family Plan, Family Meeting started her career sprinting on dirt at Delaware Park and finished fourth in her debut, but moved to turf for her second start and won a 1 1/16-mile special weight event by a half-length Nov. 7 at Laurel before shipping west.
"She's a nice filly," said Proctor assistant Aimee Dollase. "It's hard to step up to a stakes coming off a maiden win, but she showed some class today. She comes from off the pace, so the way the race unfolded was good for her."